The New Logistics of Eating: Food Deserts, From Farm to Table
The Not Old Better Show, Smithsonian Inside Science Series
Welcome to The Not Old Better Show, Smithsonian Associates Inside Science Series, I’m Paul Vogelzang and this is episode #351.
As part of our Smithsonian Associates Inside Science & Technology series, we are joined today by author, food historian, scientist, and farmer Dr. Robyn Metcalfe, below left, author of the new book, Food Routes: Growing Bananas in Iceland and Other Tales from the Logistics of Eating.
Dr. Metcalfe will be appearing at the Smithsonian Associates, Monday, May 13, 2019, and her presentation is entitled, The Global Grocery Store: How Your Food Gets From Farm to Table.
Even if we think we know a lot about good and healthy food by buying organic or believing in slow food and eating local, we probably don’t know much about how food actually gets to the table.
What happens between the farm and the kitchen? Why are all avocados from Mexico? Why does a restaurant in Maine order lamb from New Zealand? Robyn Metcalfe, food historian and food futurist explores an often-overlooked aspect of the global food system: how food moves from producer to consumer. She finds that the food supply chain is adapting to our increasingly complex demands for both personalization and convenience — but, she says, it won’t be an easy ride. Dr. Metcalfe is the author of the new book, ‘Food Routes: Growing Bananas in Iceland and Other Tales from the Logistics of Eating.’
Networked, digital tools will improve the food system but will also challenge our relationship to food in anxiety-provoking ways. It might not be easy to transfer our affections from verdant fields of organic tomatoes to high-rise greenhouses tended by robots. And yet, argues Metcalfe — a cautious technology optimist — technological advances offer opportunities for innovations that can get better food to more people in an increasingly urbanized world.
Metcalfe follows a slice of New York pizza and a club sandwich through the food supply chain; considers local foods, global foods, and food deserts; investigates the processing, packaging, and storage of food; explores the transportation networks that connect farm to plate; and explains how food can be tracked using sensors and the Internet of Things.
Future food may be engineered, networked, and nearly independent of crops grown in fields. New technologies can make the food system more efficient — but at what cost to our traditionally close relationship with food?
Join us for today’s interview and Dr. Metcalfe’s upcoming Smithsonian Associates presentation, Monday, May 13, 2019. More information can be found here on the Smithsonian Associates web site. Metcalfe’s new book, Food Routes: Growing Bananas in Iceland and Other Tales from the Logistics of Eating (MIT Press), will be available for sale and signing.