A Local Food Project in Pennsylvania: First in a Series

by dooglas carl
December 11, 2017
1st in a series on local food
Locally sourced salads, cheese and beers at a small brewpub in
Pennsylvania. Photo courtesy of douglas carl. 

Food. We eat it, drink it, socialize around it, enjoy it, critique it, take pictures of it, and then expel it. Food is an integral part of our existence, as we need it to survive, so it holds a place of utmost importance in our lives. Despite this central position of significance to our survival and social cohesion, people increasingly are distanced from the origins of the food that they eat. In our current era, food exists as a conundrum: it holds a central and a necessary part in human life, yet for many there is a magic to food, as it seemingly appears out of thin air in our grocery stores, quickie marts and restaurants. There exists a disconnect between what we put in our bellies and where that food originates from and how it's created. There are also people, organizations, and businesses working to change that and bridge the disconnect.

Personally, food has found a central part of my own life. Outside of need, I have worked in kitchens, bakeries, and fields, all places where food is grown, created, transformed, and made ready for consumption. As an anthropologist, my work around health issues always included the threads of food. From documenting local food practices, to studying the effects of school garden programs on students and their communities, to exploring the role of food in keeping people healthy, even when the overall study aim was something else, food always found a role in the story.