We regularly facilitate reading groups to engage students, and food system practitioners in conversations about food justice, food sovereignty and the right to food. Digesting one or two chapters per week over the course of a few months offers the opportunity for book club style exchanges and engagement with critical literature on food, hunger, race, colonialism, capitalism, gender, labor, the environment, urbanization, development and policy. These discussions inform our scholarship and activist practice. They also serve to foster new connections and solidarities that advance participants toward a common sense of purpose in our Food Justice praxis, crossing geographic, professional and organizing contexts.

When feasible we invite the author(s) to join us for a concluding discussion of their work and answer questions from participants.

Spring 2022 Reading

David Boarder Giles explores the ways in which capitalism simultaneously manufactures waste and scarcity. Illustrating how communities of marginalized people and discarded things gather and cultivate political possibilities, Giles documents the work of Food Not Bombs (FNB), a global movement of grassroots soup kitchens that recover wasted grocery surpluses and redistribute them to those in need. He explores FNB’s urban contexts: the global cities in which late-capitalist economies and unsustainable consumption precipitate excess, inequality, food waste, and hunger. Beginning in urban dumpsters, Giles traces the logic by which perfectly edible commodities are nonetheless thrown out—an act that manufactures food scarcity—to the social order of “world-class” cities, the pathways of discarded food as it circulates through the FNB kitchen, and the anticapitalist political movements the kitchen represents. Describing the mutual entanglement of global capitalism and anticapitalist transgression, Giles captures those emergent forms of generosity, solidarity, and resistance that spring from the global city’s marginalized residents.

Link for book: https://www.dukeupress.edu/a-mass-conspiracy-to-feed-people

The e-book is also available through WVU libraries

This Spring ’22 session will run 2-3 pm on Fridays on the following dates:

February 11 Introduction: of waste, cities and conspiracies

February 18: The Anatomy of a Dumpster

March 4: Market-Publics and Scavenged Counterpublics

March 11: Place-making and waste-making in the Global City

March 25: Eating in Public: Shadow Economies and Forbidden Gifts

April 1: A Recipe for Mass Conspiracy

April 8: Embodying Otherwise: Toward a New Politics of Surplus

April 22: conclusion: an open letter to lost homes (political implications)