Food, place and culture

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Spring quarter

Faculty: Martha Rosemeyer agricultural ecology, Zoltan Grossman geography, Native American studies

Major areas of study include political economy, geography, food, culture, Native American and traditional food and agriculture.

Class Standing: This all-level program accepts up to 25% freshmen as well as supporting and encouraging those ready for advanced work.

Food is a central element in social exchange and definition of self and community. Perhaps even more than language, food is a marker of identity and culture. How have particular regional and national cuisines been shaped by local and global geography and history? For example, what was Italian food before the tomato's arrival from the Americas? How are local food traditions being endangered by globalization?

We will begin the quarter with an overview of the evolution of early humans and the history of food procurement, including the relatively recent development of agriculture. We will study the food gathering, cultivation practices and rights of indigenous and land-based peoples of North America and the Pacific Rim. This component will include introductory ethnobotany and field work aimed at beginning to recognize native plants of the Pacific Northwest. We will also investigate the interaction of people with their landscape through visits to local tribes and immigrant communities. Students will examine the scientific basis of various modes of traditional food preparation and preservation, including fermentation.

By focusing on a few case studies, we will dissect the notion of regional cuisine, which initially develops within the context of a distinct place with unique edible plants, animals, and spices, as well as its cultural perspectives. We will consider the Columbian Exchange, the dislocation of plants and animals following this encounter of Europe with the Americas, and its profound impact on ecological systems in both areas. We will further examine the consequences of colonialism in restructuring local food systems for the markets of Empire, and in "internationalizing" food, as in Indian curry in England. We will study how migration has changed the flavor of national identities, an example of which is how salsa has replaced ketchup as the most popular condiment in the United States.

Finally, we will look at the impact of globalization and the structure of regional economies on food, such as the effects of free-trade agreements on farmers and consumers. We will investigate how climate change is disrupting plant and animal habitats important in food procurement and cultural survival. We will consider alternative models capable of providing local food security, self-sufficiency and a stronger connection to place.

Credits: 16 per quarter

Enrollment: 48

Special Expenses: Special expenses: $75 for food, entrance fees.

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in geography, culture, food, native plants and political economy.

Books for Spring Quarter
Anderson, E.N. 2005. Everyone Eats: Understanding Food and Culture.  NYU Press
Deur, D. and N. J. Turner. 2005. Keeping it Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America. UW Press.
Roche, J. and M. McHutchison (Eds). 1998. First Fish, First People: Salmon Tales of the North PacificRim. One Reel.
Wilkinson, C. F.. 2006. Messages from Franks Landing: Salmon, Treaties and the Indian Way. U of W Press.
Pojar, J. and A. MacKinnon. 2004. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Lone Pine.
Nabhan, G.P. (Ed.) 2008. Renewing America's Food Traditions. Chelsea Green.
Patel, R.. 2008. Stuff and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World's Food System. Melville House

Major Assignments

Program Faculty
Zoltán Grossman Martha Rosemeyer
Phone:    (360) 867-6153 (360) 867-6646
Office:   Lab 1, Room 3012 (third floor) Lab I, Room 1012 (first floor)
Hours:    Tuesday, 3:15-4:00 pm Friday, 2:15-3:15pm
Mailbox:  Lab 1 first floor (lower right) Lab 1 first floor (center)
Program Assistant

Andy McGee
Student Work
This pre-seminar writing assignment is a tool to help you organize your thoughts, reactions, and develop insightful analysis of the reading assignment prior to our class meeting. Refer to specific passages that intrigued you, puzzled, or surprised you, and that you feel would make a productive topic for discussion in seminar. Make certain to cite the page number(s) where your short quote(s) can be found. In addition to suggesting at least one important short quote, you should also work to contextualize this reading assignment with other program materials. You need to PRINT OUT your paper to bring to the seminar session, and bring the book or articles with you to seminar as well. This is not a paper that will be "graded" by faculty--it is a tool to aid us in our seminar sessions, and to gauge how students have grasped the readings. The printed-out version of this assignment also serves as our attendance record for seminar sessions.

Remember that the readings will be available on Library Closed Reserve, and that some PDFs of articles or book chapters will be made available only through MASU folders. 

There will be three exams: Exam I, Exam II, mainly consisting of short essay questions and Ethnobotany field Exam. 

Our final project is organized around Gary Nabhan's Food Nations; see the RAFT Map in color at:

Our teams will be organized around different geographic "Food Nation" regions represented in our two seminars (the local Salmon Nation is represented in both seminars). We should remember that studying place and culture involves broadening our knowledge "across boundaries of significant difference," including regions and peoples that may be unfamiliar to us. 


oltan's seminar
Wild Rice
Maple Syrup

Martha's seminar:
Chile Pepper
Pinyon Nut
Corn Bread/BBQ

Students in the teams have options to research and document:

1.) a particular food or resource in the region (such as fern fiddleheads or camas)
2.) a particular food processing technique in the region (such as viticulture or cheese-making),
3.) a particular food system in the region (such as a domestic fair trade network), or
4.) a particular food community or innovative agricultural project or nonprofit in the region
(such as Oregon Country Beef or the Pine Ridge bison project or GRuB). 

The geographic region is named after a particular resource, but the project is NOT at all limited to the named resource (for example, it is fine--and even encouraged--to focus on corn or beans in the Chile Pepper Nation).  Excellent resources for initial research are Renewing America's Food Traditions (Madison and Nabhan, 2008) and Terra Madre: 1600 Food Communities (Slow Food, 2007) which are both on library closed reserve.

The assignment is broken into three sections:

1. A one-page typed proposal is due on Friday, April 10 to your seminar leader, who will make any revision suggestions by the following Tuesday.  The entire project (proposal, paper and presentation) should involve an integration of our three program themes: food, place, and culture. It should include primary sources. Sources should include a minimum of at least five websites and five journal articles or books. You should demonstrate that you are well underway with your research process by showing an outline and reasonable amount of detail.

2. A final paper is due on Tuesday, May 19 to your seminar leader. The data collected in your paper will provide the depth and intellectual underpinning to the narrative of your final PowerPoint presentation. The length should be 8-10 pages, not including bibliography. The paper (like your presentation) should be academically substantive and highly specific and communicative, not simply a "recipe swap" or a vague overview of "how to make cheese." The faculty will comment on your paper as a way to frame and shape your subsequent presentation.

Please take care in your writing; try to write a quality paper that you could publish in a journal. This means treating your readers with respect by organizing, revising, and proofreading your research paper. It should be presented with appropriate grammar, sentence structure, title, page numbers, and a full bibliography of all your sources (after the paper).

All facts, quotes and paraphrasing must be thoroughly cited in the text with either footnotes/endnotes or parenthetical citations (Author, p. XX). Bibliography and footnotes/endnotes should be consistently either in MLA or APA style:  The paper must not resemble in any way the typical information available in on-line encyclopedias; they will be unique to our program. For more information on plagiarism, see the Program Covenant and

3. Your Powerpoint presentation will be delivered in Week 10.  You will present individual Powerpoints as part of a Food Nation Panel. The Powerpoint should not be too wordy, and should include many graphics and maps (download graphics to your computer before adding them to the Powerpoint). The presentation will be 12 minutes, with 3 minutes for questions, so know more about the subject than you present!  You should rehearse your timing and speaking voice, so you can be heard and stay within the tightly allocated time.  The presentation will be evaluated on your content, rather than on your level of charisma or speaking style (so don't be too nervous).  We will use only one computer for the presentations; POWERPOINTS MUST BE LOADED THE NIGHT BEFORE YOUR PRESENTATION IN FOLDERS ON MASU FOLDER "WORKSPACE," which will be organized by folders labeled by the Food Nations.


The lab notebook should be lined and bound. It will be used both for the lab exercises, and for your Grinnell Nature Journal, though you might prefer separate journals. Maintaining a nature journal aids the development of observation skills. Repeated observations of both an area and a plant will help understand seasonality. They should be included in a pocket of portfolio 3-ring binder.


A small pocket sized notebook is useful for taking notes in the field. It should be included in the pocket of the portfolio 3-ring binder.


The portfolio consists of all of the student's work (exams, papers and drafts of papers, lecture and film notes, lab, nature journal and field notebook(s), as well as all the information conveyed during the term (syllabi, schedule, handouts etc.) organized in such a way that the information could easily be retrieved in the future. Place all documentation in a 3-ring binder with section dividers to be turning in at the office of your seminar facilitator 5pm, Wednesday of Week 6 (May 6) and 4pm, Friday of Week 10 (June 5).

Food, Place and Culture Schedule Weeks 1-2




SEM 2 C1105


SEM 2 B1107

Lecture and Workshop



SEM 2 C1105 Lecture, Workshop

or as noted



Ethnobotany Laboratory or Field Trip
For Ethnobotany

Lab I 1040 & 1050


9:30am-noon: Seminar

12:00-2:00pm: Potluck or event
For location see below!

Week 1

Introduction and Framework


AM: Introduction to Program

PM: Agricultural Origins (M) and Geography (Z)


Come to room 9:30am

Survey and

Sustainability and Justice Symposium

Farmworkers' Awareness Day



Library and masu orientation

General Computer Classroom (GCC) II
1-4pm Botany Introduction and Ethnobotany Lab
Bring Pojar and MacKinnon and Lab notebook


Seminar introductions

MR- farmhouse

ZG- SEM 2 C3109

Everyone Eats Intro, Ch 1-7

Response paper due 9:30am
All Program Potluck in farmhouse

Week 2

Traditional Agriculture


AM: Traditional Ag (M)

PM: Film: Strong Roots, Fragile Farms


Pomegranates and Grenades (Z)

Film: Milagro Beanfield War


9:30am- meet at Lab 1040/1050.

Edible Forest Gardening with Natalie Pyrooz

Ethnobotany Lab



MR- SEM 2 C3107,

ZG- SEM 2 C3109

Everyone Eats Ch 8-12 and

Stuffed and Starved Ch 3

Response paper due on Everyone Eats

1 page project proposal due in seminar
Noon-2pm LH 3

"NAFTA turns 15"

Baldemar Mendoza Jimenez

Food, Place and Culture Schedule Weeks 3-4

Week 3

Ecological and Cultural Exchange


AM: Columbian Exchange

Lecture and Workshop (Z- disease and M- species)
PM: Bison Restoration (Z)


Native Ag in PNW (M)

Rick Peters' Squaxin video and Geoduck Podcast



9:30am- Meet in Parking Lot C

Squaxin Island Museum bring sack lunch

1pm- Triple Creek Farm/Mud Bay Archeological Site
Reading: Squaxin Seafood Seasonality (PDF) and Croes American Archeology paper



MR- SEM 2 C3109

ZG- farmhouse

-1491 (Mann)


-And Fernandez-Armesto (PDF on masu)

Combined response paper (plus field trip) due 9:30am
Assign Keeping it Living chapters for presentations for 4/23

Columbian Exchange Exercise

Potluck- Zoltan hosts

Week 4

Native American Use of Plants in the PNW


Native Perennial Fruits (M)

Native Ag and Food Systems (Z)


Climate Change and Native Peoples (Z)

Film: Time Immemorial on Oolichan


9:30am: Seminar in Lab rooms:

Keeping it Living- preface, introduction (CH. 1), CH. 2, and conclusion to prepare for 10 min presentations on assigned individual chapters, so come ready to discuss your chapter with your group
1pm: Ethnobotany Lab

Flowers and Fruits of Native Perennials



MR- Organic Farmhouse

ZG- SEM 2 C3109

Keeping it Living-

preface, introduction, CH2 and conclusion and chapter presentation

Response paper due 9:30am

Potluck- Martha hosts

Food, Place and Culture Schedule Weeks 5-7

Week 5


And Treaty Rights

Treaty Rights (Z)

Film: Lighting the Seventh Fire

Salmon (M)
Study Guide for Exam Review Session


Film: As Long as the Rivers Run, Muck Creek Podcast

Seminar: Messages from Franks Landing

Response paper

4/30 Farmhouse

9:30-10:30am Study session for exam

10:30-12:30pm- Preparation for First Foods Feast

Dr. Rudy Ryser,

Center for World Indigenous Studies:
Bring lunch

1-5pm: Come prepared dressed appropriately for weather to work outside in pm. Bring scissors and small knife for harvesting.


9:30am-2+pm Farmhouse

First Foods Feast

Center for World Indigenous Studies

For exam: Study Western Washington reservations on NWNativeMaps.ppt

(masu Week 3)

Saturday, May 2, Longhouse

13 Grandmothers events opens with the keynote presentation, the Traditional Salish Welcome Ceremony 1:00 to 4:00 p.m

Week 6


Indigenous knowledge
Monday 1-2:45pm Review Session

With Andy, Martha and Zoltan

Sem II A1107

9:30-Noon Exam

Progress (Z)

Keepers of the Water (film excerpt)

Local Foods (M)

(masu post "Is Local Food Better?")

7-9pm LH 1

13 Grandmothers

Agnes Pilgrim and Rita Long Visitor Holy Dance

"Ancestral Teachings for Times of Unprecedented Change"



13 Grandmothers

Portfolios due 5 pm at faculty office door
Synergy Conference

1pm Restoring the Landscape with Nature Conservancy

2pm Renewable Energy Panel

3pm Seed saving as a activist practice



Lab I 1040/1050

First Fish, First People

(pp. 12-30, 47-89, 101-120, 133-149, 161-192)

Response paper due 9:30am
Ethnobotany Lab: Field trip to camas at Mima Mounds

See posted articles and
Synergy Conference:

7-9pm Scott Kellogg, "Autonomous Communities and Sustainability"


Community Planning for the Organic Farm focus group

Sem II C3109 (all together)

Film: The Silent Killer: Unfinished Business of Hunger

Synergy Conference

Noon: Common Spring mushrooms: Edible and Poisonous

1pm: Intro to health effects of lead and mercury

7pm: Hunter Lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute

Week 7

Project time,

Service and Lab

Project Time

No class

Martha's meetings with students

Project Time

No class

Martha's meetings with students


9:30am-1:30pm Thurston County Foodbank

Meet at A Dorm Bus loop at 8:45am, bring validated student ID and lunch; Bus leaves at 8:48am (change due to construction at entry of TESC)

Or meet us at the Foodbank

At 9:30am: 220 Thurston Ave NE, Olympia



Ethnobotany lab: Flowers and Fruit II

Lab I 1040/1050

Response paper to two Synergy presentations due 9:30am

1pm Edible Forest Gardening revisit

Food, Place and Culture Schedule Weeks 8-10

Week 8

Rice in the Pacific Rim


Rice (M/Z)

Wild Rice (Z)
Hungary (Z)
Project paper due 9:30am


Film: Eat Drink

Man Woman
12:30pm- Campus plant walk with Andy- Meet at Flaming Eggplant
1-3pm- Lab make-up- meet at Lab room at 1pm




Parking Lot C

In preparation read:

Humbows not Hotdogs (PDF)
Seattle International District Walking Tour

Bob Santos and Tom Im (hosts)

Lunch at Uwajimaya

Burke Museum



MR- SEM 2 C3109

ZG- Organic Farmhouse

Rice as Self (PDF)

Response paper due 9:30am
Potluck- Zoltan hosts

Week 9



Race/Class/Food (Z)

Global Ag and Food System (Z/M)
Food Sovereignty in Venezuela


Globalization and Localization of Apples (Zaragoza)

Film: Life and Debt


9:30am Final Ethnobotany Quiz

Meet at McLane Creek (see separate posting on directions and expectations)

Ethnobotany paper due

1:30 Lab Clean-up (required)

Final Exam Review Session

Meeting of Food Nation group in preparation for next week's presentations



MR- SEM 2 C3107

ZG- SEM 2 C3109

Stuffed and Starved- Ch 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 10

Response paper due 9:30am

Week 10




Project Presentations

(attendance for all presentations mandatory)


Project Presentations

(attendance for all presentations mandatory)


Project Presentations

(attendance for all presentations mandatory)


Final Exam- Farmhouse
Final all program Potluck
Portfolios with self-evals due 4pm at faculty offices

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