Our goal is to develop a template for “future of food” workshops and dinners in communities across North America.
In October 2014, humanities scholars and their community partners utilized a “charrette” process to envision the future of food in Phoenix Arizona in 2040, asking: what should be on our plates for Dinner 2040?
The meal plan incorporated scientific, historical, cultural, and place-based practices that sustain the environmental integrity of the Southwest in United States, honor its culinary innovations, ensure health for ‘future’ foods, and promote food justice and food sovereignty.
This pilot project sought to establish a model for other communities as they consider the future of food in their regions. Starting with a pilot workshop, we explored avenues to a future food system which is more sustainable, respects the ecological integrity of the place, preserves cultural traditions, health, and ensures just practices in the production, distribution and consumption of food.
Our teams, including community partners in the culinary arts, indigenous communities, agriculture and organic farming, public health, policy planning, and food markets, worked towards constructing a new paradigm for integrating sustainable food practices into local food growing and eating practices.
The Future of Food group, led by philosopher Joan McGregor, included consultants Joni Adamson and Giovanna Di Chiro, and humanities scholars Allison Carruth, Stephanie Foote, Nalini Chhetra, Maria Cruz-Torres, David Philips, Kyle Whyte.
Our community partners were: Jeff Klopatek, Richard Sterling, Joan Baron, Dana Eldridge, Cindy Gentry, Rossane Albright, Maya Dailey, and Lora Reid. Website content was written by Joan McGregor, the website development team led by Joni Adamson, with web design and development by Patricia Ferrante, and technical support by Susan Poole Anderson.
In the next phase of our project, we are planning to host a meal for 100 community leaders in November 2016 to engage them in a layered conversation about what we should be eating in Phoenix in 2040 and how we get there.
This event will be a model for other communities to engage with humanists and community members about building a sustainable food system for their community. The potential of the “Dinner 2040” design lies in its invitation for community-wide examination of and movement towards aspirational food practices of the future. We believe it is in the interest of all communities to examine the future of our food production and consumption practices.