Summer Salon #1: The Future of Food

Posted on July 10th, 2009 by

Martin Lang (communication studies) sends along the following invitation:

Fellow scholars, researchers, and people who like to talk about smart stuff even if you don’t know a lot about it:

Please join Ethan Marxhausen and me, Martin Lang (as well as perennial hostess Brandy Russell) for the first Summer Salon:

  • Monday, July 13
  • 3:30
  • Phi Beta Kappa room (the fancy room on first floor Vickner with the leather chairs and wood paneling).
  • Refreshments will be served!

The Summer Salons offer an opportunity to share some of the valuable research going on this summer in a format that will give everyone an opportunity to participate.  These salons were inspired by the Italian and French traditions of gathering in a comfortable, amiable setting to share (and sometimes debate!) our ideas on a given topic.  No quizzes, no minimum knowledge requirements, just an open and inquisitive mind.

Each salon will be hosted by a student/faculty pair or team.  Participants in our Summer Salons will be encouraged to indulge in a wee bit of light, guided research on the topic in order to introduce and help frame the subject.  Those attending event will explore that subject in an unstructured and free-flowing conversation.  Opinions, questions, experimental thinking and devil’s advocacy are not only welcome but essential to a lively and engaging interaction–all steeped, of course, in an attitude of open sharing rather than cutthroat competition.  A more formal “mission statement” for the salons is provided below.

The topic Monday will be “The Future of Food: Science, Ethics, Culture and Sustainability.”  Ethan and Martin are producing a short film this summer examining the next generation of farmers and have been confronted with some interesting questions in this (very broad) arena.  We ask that participants watch a 15 minute news video and read a very short Time Magazine article before attending.  Links are provided below.  Of course, everyone is welcome to bring their own perspective (or lack thereof!) on this topic.  We will show a bit of video we’ve gathered and see where the conversation takes us.

Here are the links:
(very short Time blurb)

(**NOTE:** YOU MAY NEED TO CLICK THE “Quicktime: Large” FORMAT LINK AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE IN ORDER TO VIEW THIS. 15 minute online video on agribusiness creating farming problems in India)

If you can’t make it to this salon, fear not: more are on the way.


P.S.–Did I mention refreshments?

The salon is a forum for students and faculty to have informal conversations about topics of intellectual or academic interest to a broad liberal arts audience. This approach fosters a diversity of ideas and perspectives as the participants explore the topic through the give and take of open conversation. A topic is announced in advance, and participants are encouraged to perform some independent  investigation on the topic before the salon meeting in order to augment and refine the ideas they already hold. Several students and faculty who are on campus this summer working together on research, scholarship, or creative work will take turns hosting salons in July and August 2009. Hosts will select a few potential readings in advance.


One Comment

  1. Joe Lencioni says:

    Thanks for the heads up on this. I saw a trailer on YouTube the other day for the film.

    Although it is probably too late for this particular event, for future Summer Salons (and any other events) more people would probably find out if it was posted to the College Calendar.