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Exploring the Literature of Food: Current Trends in American Food Writing and Environmentalism

(4.5 Credits, English 179, GH and US)

In our era of fast grub, rock-bottom prices, and huge supermarkets (stocked year-round with food that is only ripe thousands of miles away), people have begun to take steps to know more about their food.  This movement takes many forms, including Organic, Free-Range, Locavore, and Slow Food.  In this course, we will read texts that have helped popularize the need and the techniques for paying more attention to what we put into our bodies and how the way food is produced impacts the environment.

The syllabus will include works by Henry David Thoreau, Upton Sinclair, Michael Pollan, Novella Carpenter, Wendell Berry, and more!

This is a hands-on course!  We will visit and work on three farms tied to the local food economy in State College.  We will grow more conscious about our own consumption by thinking about where the food we eat comes from, encountering producers through local farmers’ markets, and writing about our experiences with the local food community.  Finally, along with sharing food each week in class, we’ll cook a meal together, using local, sustainable produced food to end the semester in style!  Good nourishment for body and mind: That’s the goal for this course.

Class Meetings and Field Trip for Spring 2017

Class meets each Thursday of the semester from 6:00 to 7:30

February:  Blue Rooster Farm (http://blueroosterfarm.com/) .  Tour a working organic meat farm and sustainable forest with the owners and operators of the farm

March/April:  Mystic Springs Farm (http://www.greentowns.com/initiative/community-supported-agriculture/mystic-springs-farm-richfield-pa).  Help with spring farm chores on an organic farm

April:  Mountainside Homestead (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mountainside-Homestead/484554224930267). Tour the 250-year old farmhouse and learn how the owners work to feed themselves and to live sustainably.

Late April:  Class meal prepared with local food from various farms we have visited.