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Local Food and Human Diets


Our species evolved in the context of foraging for local food as hunters and gatherers. Today, eating local carries different connotations, often associated with being environmentally conscious, health oriented and globally minded. But is local food a sustainable reality? With our dietary requirements and current population densities, can we reliably source food locally? Why have we found ourselves in this troubled place? This course explores the relationships between local food, human diets and cultural formations.

We will investigate how our omnivorous diets evolved out of foraging for wild resources; the ways in which our ancestors modified environments to domesticate plants and animals; the dynamic interactions between culture(s), industrialized agriculture, urbanization and human population growth; the growing acknowledgment of environmental and social responsibility to eat local; and the attempts to commercialize and co-opt local food movements.

Wednesdays, 2 – 5 pm


Shannon Jones, MS – Associate Instructor, Division of Nutrition

Shannon attended the University of Utah where she received a B.S. in Speech Communication with a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies and an M.S. in Communication Studies with areas of emphasis in Critical Cultural Studies, Critical Rhetoric and Food Studies. Her current areas of interest examine the intersections of communication, culture(s) and food, assessing how messages relating to food and nutrition function to inform the disparate critiques of the global food system and the varied calls for its political and social reformations as taken up and articulated within food and farming movements. Shannon also likes to backpack, hike and camp in the mountains and deserts of Utah as much as possible.

Brian F. CoddingPhD – Assistant Professor, Anthropology & Director, U of U Archaeological Center

Brian received his B.S. from the Social Sciences Department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, his M.A. and PhD. from the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. His research examines variability in human-environment interactions across ethnographic and archaeological contexts in Western North America and Australia, particularly through the framework of behavioral ecology. He teaches courses that cover topics ranging from world prehistory to human ecology, and supports active, community engaged and place-based learning opportunities. Outside of work he enjoys traveling, hiking and cooking with his wife, their family and friends.

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