Friday, January 15, 2010

Is Food the Future?:
Alice Waters and the scope of education

SF Gate recently ran an article about Alice Waters [The Scavenger blog], and specifically an Atlantic Magazine article [Cultivating Failure] criticizing her foray of the slow food movement into politics, specifically elementary education in America.  Is prioritizing the teaching of sustainable gardening and cooking to kids in school taking the place of the teaching of mathematics, English, science or other arts?  In a time of slash and burn education budgets is she wasting limited resources in view of teaching children an upper-class Bay Area-ite foodie culture practiced by the prius-driving latte-drinking ├╝ber crust of our society?  Or is she as she would claim a sort of centurion for truth and justice fighting against the titan-like governator in Sacramento?

The articles linked to a video clip on youtube from last March [see below], which some pointed out as relevatory of Water's out-of-touchness.

Worth the 12 minute watch, I must disagree with the critics.  Granted I want my kids - 7 and 5 - to learn math, the sciences (natural and physical and computer), the performing and visual arts as well as languages - English and others.  Yet isn't how we eat, where our food comes from, and sustainability key in the midst of the every-greening landscape we call our world?  Is seems to be that gardening, cooking, sustainability could/should be taught as integrative examples and pedagogical experiences in terms of mathematics, science, history and social studies.  In an age in which we see the gap between the rich and poor expanding exponentially, and when we see an ever-increasing dependence upon medication and medicine to control the threats of obesity and diabetes [see the recent article about Michelle Obama's gardening at the White House and her taking-on the topic of childhood obesity], and an increased drive to be green and green-ifying; shouldn't we be teaching something along these lines?

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