Though people have been advocating for more sustainable and equitable food for years, the COVID-19 pandemic has made a wider public even more aware of weaknesses in our food systems, from food insecurity to health risks in meat-processing plants.
“We start with transportation and the carbon footprint of food delivery,” says Elizabeth Miller, a professor in the Department of Communication Studies and documentary maker who teaches a course on media and the politics of food.
“We study questions like, ‘How far does our food have to travel?’ and ‘What’s the implication and impact?’”
Miller also focuses on labour and gender issues around food, such as who picks our crops under what conditions, and who gets exposed to harmful pesticides.
“The history of food is the history of tariffs,” she says. “Understanding why and how things are cheap is a critical entry point to conversations about food.”