The food system, with the entire range of actors involved in the production, processing, distribution, consumption, and disposal of food, presents formidable social and economic challenges as well as opportunities. How do we affect the environment with our food choices? Food production continues to be a significant driver of the degradation of the environment with the depletion and degradation of critical natural resources. Along with the pervasiveness of overweight and obesity, there is the persistence of food poverty and undernutrition. The concentration in the food industry with its marketing contributes to homogeneous, unhealthy, and unsustainable ultra-processed foods, thereby reducing genetic diversity in agricultural crops, inputs, and animals on the one hand and, on the other, raising problematic questions of governance. Which governance arrangements and policies can pave the way for a more just and equitable food system? How can international relations and trade contribute to greater food security and a more just food system?
Food does not provide only sustenance but also pleasure for our mouths, pleasure for our brains through conviviality and, through connection with the natural world, as expressed by poet farmer Wendell Berry “…a spiritual practice, a way of embracing the natural order of things.” As such, it is at the heart of numerous literary works from ancient to modern times, as well as other artistic works from painting, visual media, and films.
The Mission of the Center for Food Studies
- To provide a forum in English for intercultural and interdisciplinary exchanges, debates, and projects related to food production and consumption, their economic, social, and environmental impacts;
- To promote and advance research in food-related topics within the University and with other research networks, including the Rome-based U.N. and CGIAR international organizations, the European Food Safety Authority and the active civic food networks.
- To promote and share teaching and experiential learning in the interdisciplinary topic of food within AUR and with other universities and research centers in the world
- To foster internships with organizations involved in food
- To foster scholarships by the donor community for students in need.
- To encourage contacts and possible cooperation with the non-profit sector, businesses, and public sector institutions.
- To offer an affiliation opportunity for Visiting Scholars