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E-news #019: Summer 2009

In This Issue

 

Executive Director's Update

By Clare M. Hasler

news010_image013.jpgThe summer of 2009 is beginning to wind down, but at the RMI things are definitely winding up. Construction of the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory and the Teaching and Research Laboratory has officially begun (see first story below) and real-time activities on the building site can be viewed on the construction webcam. We are very excited that the second phase of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science is now underway and will be completed next summer. Over 400 alumni of the Department of Viticulture and Enology returned to UC Davis to celebrate the winery groundbreaking on May 15.

The institute hosted two international conferences this summer. The first, Beyond Extra Virgin, was held June 21–23 at UC Davis and the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena. This hugely successful event, which attracted over 300 attendees, was organized by Dan Flynn and the UC Davis Olive Center. See the full story by Nicole Sturzenburger.

Less than a month later (June 12–16) the RMI partnered with the Department of Viticulture and Enology to host the 16th annual GiESCO Conference. GiESCO stands for “Group of International Experts on Vitivinicultural Systems for Cooperation” and is the most prestigious of all the grape production and physiology meetings. This was the first time the event has ever been held in the U.S. See the full story by organizing committee chair Jim Wolpert. The RMI also hosted several other exciting events over the last three months which are detailed in this issue of the e-news.

The RMI has also released the second book in a series of historical agricultural works. California’s Olive Pioneers: Early Essays on Olive and Olive Oil gathers together for the first time 13 early essays on olive culture in California with a foreword by Judith M. Taylor, M.D. See the prospectus for this extraordinary book. A wonderful addition to any bibliophile’s library.

Finally, as many of you at UC Davis already know, the RMI has a new assistant. Karin Hiolle joined the RMI team in May and her office is room 1021 in the Sensory Building in the RMI administrative office suite area. You can read a little more about her in the story below, but please stop by and welcome Karin.

My warmest wishes to you and your family this summer!

Clare Signature

Clare

 

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Construction Update on Winery, Brewery, and Food Processing Facility

By Julianne Nola

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We are excited that construction on the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory and the Teaching and Research Winery is officially underway. The expected completion date is August 2010. Construction work can be viewed on the live webcam, which is also on the home page of the RMI website.

Rough grading and preparation of the building pad has begun. One of the components of the foundation system is the rammed aggregate piers (geo piers). This noisy activity involves the drilling of approximately 230 geo piers (averaging 12 to 14 feet deep) and filling each one with an aggregate base that is “rammed” into the hole. The “ramming” rig generates most of the noise as it compacts the aggregate base into the pier hole. Underground installation of site utilities (i.e., gas, water, storm drain, steam, chilled water, etc.) is slated to start, as well. Above-ground building construction will begin in September.

 

RMI Welcomes Karin Hiolle

By Clare M. Hasler

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Karin was born and raised in France, studied at the University of Paris and Cambridge programs in London, and lived in San Francisco for 15 years before moving to Vacaville. In 2004, Karin started an alpaca breeding ranch after moving to North Vacaville, where she now lives with them plus a herd of cats, three llamas, and two dogs. As a transportation consultant for almost 20 years, she organized extensive travel for a motivational marketing company and more recently coordinated public transport programs for the county of Solano and the city of Vacaville.

Gardening is her favorite pastime and, according to Karin, “I get great advice from the Good Life Garden staff to manage all my fruits trees!” She volunteers with both Habitat for Humanity and the Soroptimist International of Vacaville. Chocolate and a smile will get you far in her book when you need special attention; however, she will always be glad to help at events or with projects. Just ask!

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UC Davis Olive Center Hosts International Conference

By Nicole Sturzenberger

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The conference offered three separate guided tastings with the opportunity for attendees to taste oils from around the world.

With the California olive oil industry growing rapidly each year, it seemed only appropriate for the UC Davis Olive Center and the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (CIA) to host this year’s Beyond Extra Virgin conference, June 21–23. Held on both the UC Davis and Culinary Institute Napa Valley campuses, the conference focus was on excellence in olive oil, from agriculture to sensory evaluation to the culinary arts, approaching the product from marketing, production, sensory, health, and culinary perspectives. Attracting over 300 attendees, sponsors, and presenters from around the world, the event was an excellent opportunity to expose both the new and old worlds to tradition and innovation within the olive oil sector. Olive-producing nations were represented from Mediterranean Europe and North Africa to California, Mexico, and Australia.

The first two days, held at UC Davis, focused on the technical side of olive oil, giving attendees the chance to hear from experts from all sectors of the industry and to taste a multitude of oils from around the world. Tastings were paired with panels comprised of producers, scientists, and marketing experts. On the third day participants were bused to Napa to attend a day filled with fine food and olive oil.

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Celebrity Chef and 2009 James Beard Winner, Paul Bartalotta demonstrates his award-winning skills at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.

This session of the conference gave chefs a chance to provide cooking demonstrations, filled with techniques for cooking with premium olive oil; they also gave their opinions on pairing olive oil with food. Dishes ranged from traditional Apulian pasta, demonstrated by chef Renato Morisco, to Greek chef Christoforos Peskias’ ability to transform olive oil with liquid nitrogen into delicious edible pearls, to CIA chef/instructor Bill Briwa’s demonstration of Spanish patatas bravas with allioli. The conference wrapped up with a wine reception on the stunning CIA Herb Terrace, hosted by the Florence Convention Bureau, which will host the next edition of Beyond Extra Virgin, May 11–13, 2010.

Beyond Extra Virgin offered the opportunity for people from around the world who are involved in all aspects of the industry to meet and discuss excellence in olive oil and its international future.

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“Eco-Chef” Bryant Terry — Cool Soul-Food Lecturing

By Kimberly D. Nettles-Barcelόn

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Eco-Chef Bryant Terry lectures to a packed house in the RMI Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theatre during Black Family Week

On May 12, 2009, Bryant Terry, a nationally recognized eco-chef, author, and food justice activist, visited the UC Davis campus as part of a slate of events within Black Family Week. The event was held in the Robert Mondavi Institute’s Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theatre and featured a lecture, cooking demonstration, and lunch inspired by the recipes in Terry’s recently released Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine. More than 75 people from the community were in attendance — faculty, staff, and students from the main campus in Davis and the Medical Center in Sacramento, as well as local community members.

Terry engaged the audience with tales of his evolution from college and graduate student in English and history (inspired by the works of Robin D.G. Kelley) to eco-chef and food activist. He recalls his “conversion” to vegetarianism and later veganism which coincided with his rethinking of African-American cooking and eating traditions as wholly compatible, rather than competitive, with the quest for healthy bodies, communities, and the environment. He has written about the connections between sustainable food production and black southern cuisine emanating from his own experiences as a child in Memphis, Tennessee — eating freshly-grown vegetables and fruits at his grandparents’ table.

Bryant Terry is part of a new generation of food activists committed to fostering a sense of excitement and responsibility amongst youth of color in urban settings, teaching them to see the current diet-related health crises amongst African Americans and other working-class peoples of color as not representative of personal failings or simply bad eating habits, but part of a larger social phenomenon which implicates everyone. Terry, who has long been at the forefront of the food justice movement, has worked in the last decade to build a more just and sustainable food system and has used cooking as a tool to illuminate the intersections between poverty, structural racism, and food insecurity.

Terry holds a master's degree in American history from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English, with honors, from Xavier University of Louisiana. His chef's training was undertaken at The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City.

In 2002, Bryant founded b-healthy — which stands for Building Healthy Eating and Lifestyles to Help Youth — a five-year initiative created to raise awareness about food justice issues and empower youth to be active in creating a more just and sustainable food system.

In 2006, Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen (co-authored with Anna Lappé) was published. In it, Lappé and Terry critique those aspects of the industrialized food system that are not doing our bodies good and go beyond proselytizing and hand-wringing to bring readers from diverse backgrounds into a conversation about and action plan for eating whole foods — linking social justice (for farmers, farmworkers, and urban youth), eating locally and sustainably grown organic fruits and vegetables, and the crises facing many due to diet-related health issues.

He has received many honors and awards for his work including receiving the inaugural Natural Gourmet Institute Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Food Education and being selected as one of the 2007 "Hot 20 under 40" in the San Francisco Bay Area magazine 7 X 7. Bryant's first book, Grub, was a winner of a 2007 Nautilus Award for Social Change.

Bryant has a regular column — "Eco-Soul Kitchen" — on TheRoot.com. He was a host on The Endless Feast, a 13-episode public television series that explores the connection between the earth and the food on our plates. Bryant is currently a fellow of the Food and Society Policy Fellows Program, a national project with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Terry Bryant’s visit was organized by the Critical Studies in Food and Culture research cluster within the Davis Humanities Institute and generously sponsored by the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, UC Davis Extension, the UC Davis Foods for Health Institute, and the African-American Studies Research Cluster. For more information about the CSFC research cluster, visit the DHI website (http://dhi.ucdavis.edu/ or http://foodandculture.blogspot.com/).

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RMI Hosts GiESCO 2009

By Jim Wolpert

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The Robert Mondavi Institute (RMI) and the Department of Viticulture and Enology (VEN) jointly sponsored the 16th International GiESCO Symposium, July 12–16, on the UC Davis campus. GiESCO (Group of International Experts on Vitivinicultural Systems for Cooperation) includes some of the most highly regarded viticulture researchers from the world’s most famous winegrape regions.

The meeting, the first time GiESCO was held in North America, was attended by 150 researchers who gave 50 oral presentations and presented 60 posters. While the meeting had a heavily European flavor given the large contingents from France, Italy, and Spain, strong attendance was also seen from the U.S. and Canada, as well as members from 10 other countries. The UC Davis meeting carried on the GiESCO tradition of open and collegial scientific exchange. In addition to the scientific sessions, bus tours were taken to Napa and Lodi production regions, where growers shared with attendees their newest practices in sustainable viticulture.

A special program on the final day focused on “Recent Advances in Grapevine Canopy Management” in honor of UC Davis emeritus professor W. Mark Kliewer, and attracted an additional 250 attendees, mostly from industry. The UC Davis organizing committee was comprised of Clare M. Hasler (RMI, UC Davis), Bernard Portet (Clos du Val Winery, Napa), Nick Dokoozlian (E&J Gallo Winery, Modesto), Jean-Jacques Lambert (VEN, UC Davis), Andy Walker (VEN, UC Davis), and Jim Wolpert (VEN, UC Davis) who chaired the committee. Financial support from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and E&J Gallo Winery was critical to the success of the meeting.

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The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science is pleased to announce the publication of

California’s Olive Pioneers: Early Essays on Olives and Olive Oil

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California’s Olive Pioneers: Early Essays on Olive and Olive Oil is the second book in the Robert Mondavi Institute’s series of historical agricultural works, gathering together for the first time 13 early essays on olive culture in California.

Included in the essays are several rare publications as well as the most complete copy to date of an address on olives by Benjamin B. Redding, namesake of Redding, California. Coming on the heels of the California Gold Rush in 1849 and the establishment of the University of California, the 1880s saw rapid growth in California’s olive culture. These essays capture the commitment and excitement for olive culture and production that were pervasive during those formative years.

Olive trees were the darlings of both the practical and the scientific worlds in California as it developed. The involvement, one almost might say “infatuation,” of both communities was equivalent to the F1 hybrids or genetically modified seed of today.

—Judith Taylor, MD
Foreword, California’s Olive Pioneers: Early Essays on Olive and Olive Oil

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The selected essays were thoughtfully handpicked after thoroughly reviewing dozens of late-nineteenth-century newspapers, magazines, bulletins, journals, pamphlets, and books. The essayists include Frank A. Kimball, Benjamin B. Redding, Ellwood Cooper, John I. Bleasdale, Frederick Pohndorff, Waldemar G. Klee, Adolphe Flamant, Byron M. Lelong, William A. Hayne Jr., and Eugene E. Hilgard, all of California, and Antonio Aloi of Italy. These men run the gamut from university scientists to California boosters and dedicated olive growers. The foreword by Judith Taylor, MD, author of The Olive in California: History of an Immigrant Tree (2000), sets the historical context for these essays and provides a biographical sketch for each of the authors.

In addition to being a significant historical work by revealing many essays that have not been in print for more than a hundred years, this volume is a beautiful example of contemporary book arts. California’s Olive Pioneers is bound in a fitting 19th century style featuring endpapers chosen from a rare copy of Edward Wickson’s The Fruits of California and How to Grow Them (1891). In order to avoid the patchwork of type that characterized printed material from the Victorian period, this handsome volume is entirely set in the Jenson and Ronaldson fonts, which were used by renowned printer Edward Bosqui for Flamant’s A Practical Treatise on Olive Culture, Oil Making and Olive Pickling (1887).

This exclusive series of books began with The Wine Press and the Cellar by Emmet Rixford and is made possible by the generous support of an anonymous benefactor. California’s Olive Pioneers will be treasured by bibliophiles, historians, olive growers, and aficionados alike.

book coverCalifornia’s Olive Pioneers: Early Essays on Olives and Olive Oil
Foreword by Judith M. Taylor, MD.
2009. [vii]-xxv, 317 p.: portraits, illustrations; 24 cm. Hardcover. ISBN: 978-0-9816345-1-7
This jewel of a book may be purchased for $175.00. Proceeds from sales of the book will be used to support RMI programs.
Copies of this book are available for purchase at the UC Davis Bookstore, through the Robert Mondavi Institute web site at http://rmi.ucdavis.edu,
or by contacting Karin Hiolle at 530-754-6349 (phone), 530-752-7080 (fax), or khiolle@ucdavis.edu (email).

Download the full prospectus here!

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Viticulture and Enology Department Alumni Reunion Draws 400 to the Robert Mondavi Institute

Adapted from a story which appeared in Wine Business Monthly on May 19 by Roger Lansing (see full story at http://www.winebusiness.com/news/?go=getArticle&dataId=64630)

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Nearly 400 alumni of the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology returned to campus May 15 as part of a reunion and celebration to tour the department's new teaching and research facilities at the Robert Mondavi Institute and the newly planted teaching vineyard. Alumni working in the wine industry came from throughout the U.S., and from Canada and South America. Attendees represented graduating classes from the 1960s to as recently as 2008.

Department chair Andy Waterhouse greeted the crowd with, "Welcome home to UC Davis," and went on to explain, "Today's focus is on viewing our new facilities, but down the road they will enable changes and improvements in research and education that will not be as visible, but are the real reasons they were built."

Waterhouse recognized the initial vision and seed contribution of $25 million from the late Robert Mondavi, along with additional private contributions, and funding from the state of California.

Professor Linda Bisson discussed the future of extension and outreach programs, an area of importance to alumni and industry professionals, and the need for change in light of funding challenges and new technologies for expediting the transfer of information. Bisson believes enology extension in the future will require greater reliance on self-funding, expanded use of web-based media, focused and targeted programming, and enhanced communication. She discussed the need to move forward and the goal of creating a Viticulture and Enology Extension and Outreach Center at the RMI. Five main areas have been identified for program development: vineyard and winery sustainability, flavor, emerging technologies, style management, and beneficial practices. She asked alumni to complete a form to rank these areas in terms of their level of interest and importance.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for the new 34,000 sq. ft. teaching and research winery was staged with a lineup of distinguished department alumni that included the first female graduate MaryAnn Graf, along with alumnae Zelma Long and Judy Matulich-Weitz, emeritus professors Vernon Singleton and Ralph Kunkee, and current faculty Andy Waterhouse, Roger Boulton, David Block, and Chik Brenneman. The winery is expected to be completed in time for the 2010 crush.

Professor Boulton described innovative and sustainable features being incorporated into design and construction that will make it the world's first platinum level certified winery under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Features include PV solar power, rainwater capture, efficient water use and reuse, and onsite carbon capture and sequestering. The main fermentation area will have 14 larger (2000 L) research fermenters, and 152 smaller-scale research fermenters, each with CO2 capture and all fully automated for temperature control and pumpovers. Other features include a long-term barrel storage room, a research bottle storage room for up to 25,000 bottles, a winery lab, and a classroom.

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RMI Hosts “Cheese Loves Beer: Mastering the Marriage”

By Clare M. Hasler

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The rich diversity of beer styles and flavors was explored in “Cheese Loves Beer: Mastering the Marriage” — the second in an ongoing series of consumer tasting events hosted by the Robert Mondavi Institute hosted on May 16 in the RMI Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theatre.

This very lively and enjoyable afternoon featured two renowned UC Davis faculty members from the Department of Food Science and Technology: Moshe Rosenberg, professor and specialist, dairy engineering and technology, and Charlie Bamforth, professor and Anheuser Busch Endowed Chair of Malting and Brewing Sciences.

Dr. Rosenberg’s talk, “There is Life after Cheddar” included a discussion of the existence of more than 1,500 different cheese varieties throughout the world and the evolution of their rich and unique flavor. Dr. Bamforth’s presentation on “Bountiful Beer” emphasized why beer is the ideal accompaniment to your favorite cheese.

Nearly 60 attendees experienced a rare opportunity to enjoy these eight cheese-and-beer pairings led by Drs. Rosenberg and Bamforth:

  • Brillat Savarin Affine Fromagerie and Gordon Biersch Hefeweissen
  • Aged Comte and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  • Cambazola and Anchor Porter
  • Laguiole and Sudwerk Lager
  • Purple Haze from Cypress Grove and Hoegaarden
  • Aged Manchego and Redbridge
  • Selles Sur Cher Fresh Jacquin and Lindemans Kriek Cuvée René
  • Gruyere and Lindemans Kriek

Dr. Hasler, executive director of the Robert Mondavi Institute, also discussed the role of beer and cheese as functional foods.

The event was very positively received. One attendee remarked in the evaluation, “The speakers were so knowledgeable and well spoken. I never realized the amount of science that goes into all of this. Drs. Bamforth and Rosenberg introduced beer and cheese in a very well-articulated, informative, and humorous manner.”

This lively and entertaining event was followed by a reception in the RMI. Many thanks go to Kim Bannister (the RMI assistant from November 2008 to May 2009; now employed in Redding, Calif.) , Carrie Cloud (CA&ES events planner), Karin Hiolle (current RMI administrative assistant), and the 12 Aggie Ambassador students who helped to make this event such a great success!

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Tasting Histories: Food and Drink Cultures through the Ages: February 27-March 1, 2009

By Jennifer Goldstein

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The UC multi campus research groups Studies of Food and the Body and World History combined with the RMI to host a three day conference on food cultures in history last February/March.  The event brought together thirty distinguished scholars for an interdisciplinary discussion of the interrelationship between local cultures and global foodways and food studies and understanding the past. The over 120 attendees enjoyed stimulating conversations, chefs tastings, and keynote talks from leading scholars in the field.  Jennifer Goldstein, a member of the Food and the Body MRG, graduate student from UCLA, and presenter at the conference, shares her thoughts on the event and its significance for her, below.

Tasting Histories: The Politics of Ethical Consumption

Just as we were comfortably settling in with the knowledge that “local” is in — and Monsanto, out — a flock of tenacious academics taunt us to move past such simplistic thinking. The answers can’t ever be so easy, can they? But for those eager to be shaken from a locavore-worshiping stupor, the recent Tasting Histories conference, celebrating the opening of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis, was a venerable weekend-long cocktail party of well-established and rising scholars from across the country who are dedicated to the study of food — many of whom unabashedly invoked the theme of the local within our eating practices, both contemporary and historical.

With few universities granting official status to food studies or food science departments (UC Davis is one exception), on whose shoulders does it fall to define the boundaries of the contemporary study of food? Who can we expect to engage the big questions, particularly as they pertain to localizing agriculture? It’s a necessarily interdisciplinary subject and also one that has been marked territory of late by many notable nonacademics speaking to a broad audience hungry for knowledge about our food systems.

Historians, sociologists, anthropologists… have they all been remiss? Au contraire. Academics rarely are, and the convening of Tasting Histories was a brief but powerful assertion that those researching food have much to say. On obesity and GMOs, bread lines and milk and wine, scholars pushed us to think thematically about food in shifting and complex ways. Many of those speaking at this event threw light on the messy spaces where capitalism, culture, and science collide to show us that our cozy categories of benevolent local and hegemonic global are often romantic, sometimes ignorant, and have antecedents that can’t be ignored.

Susanne Friedberg, professor of geography at Dartmouth College and author of the forthcoming book Fresh: A Perishable History, challenged us to think about the contemporary contradictions inherent in our local food logic during her keynote address, aptly titled “After Taste.” For much of the 20th century, food miles were a status symbol, worn by highly perishable foods desired by proud, privileged eaters who could afford the costs that traveling refrigeration incurred. Consumers in general, especially the rising American middle class in the first half of the 1900s, were trained to appreciate and buy the ephemeral, and thus perishable, items in the marketplace. These foods have always been marketed as having more “taste,” in both the little t and capital T sense.

The new food authorities tell us that foods that are cheap and also global have no taste, Friedberg said, and we must instead eat the food grown closer to home. But as she also noted, Friedberg herself a long-time farmers market devotee, so many people in the world are on the wrong side of this enlightened 21st century eating practice. The farmers she bought vegetables from in Burkina Faso, which she also called home for a year, desperately wanted to sell their fresh beans to the markets of Europe rather than distribute them locally for pittance, which they were forced to do when the beans were declined by Europe for not being “fresh” enough.

Darra Goldstein, professor of Russian at Williams College and editor of Gastronomica, struck a similar but slightly optimistic tone in her commentary on talks given by graduate students on seeing world history through food. How do we complicate globalization?, she asked, how do we find the “positive potential within the global marketplace?”

Goldstein acknowledged the existing tensions between the global and the local, as did her panelists’ comments on indigenous Australian food products being marketed worldwide and the historical creation of a New World culinary heritage in the English colonial Atlantic as it intersected with Creolization. These distinctive foodways are inherently situated within macro-scale social and economic processes, as are many of the “local” foods that we’ve come to exalt in today’s markets. Goldstein proposed that we should find ways to remain global within our local economies — is it possible that the world could be entirely de-globalized?, she asked. Is this even desirable?

Charlotte Biltekoff, professor of American studies and food science at UC Davis, suggested in her commentary that we shift our attention from the sole significance of our daily routines toward the broader systems and structures in which they are embedded. On a talk given by Richard Alvarez of UC San Diego on the history of plant transfers by the USDA, Biltekoff asked: what happens when we stop ignoring the historical origins of our agricultural practices and the power dynamics that have created the current landscape of what we consider to be “local” food? Can re-inserting history into our conceptions of current food systems “shift our thinking away from the behavior of consumers, toward the larger systems and structures of power that a focus on ethical consumption obscures?” she asked.

Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, et al., may still be carrying the torch for many now-enlightened eaters, but some of us have moved on. Or perhaps we were just never completely satisfied with the Omnivore’s Dilemma’s narrative in the first place. This is not to say that Pollan, and the ever-widening crowd of writers and speakers who have taken up the locavore chant, don’t speak eloquently, even passionately, about the need for alternatives to our industrialized, unjust food system. Indeed, credit is due here for grabbing the attention of many who might have never thought about the phrase “industrial food system” at all. Nor is this to say we should surrender the last of our winter root vegetables and stock up on canned food from China.

The point is that the food narrative circulating now, and the daily work of civic participation in the food system, doesn’t come to a rest with eaters who simply know where food comes from. In fact, that’s only one beginning to a multiplicity of narratives that seek to ensure the well-being of our planet and our bodies. There are more complicated and ultimately more compelling stories unraveling than the one that pits the local against the global, that imagines a neat and bridgeable gulf between producers and consumers. We must understand globalization not only as an oppressive abstraction but also as a cross-cultural dialogue between people the world over who need to eat.

These fresh ways of thinking about foodways also highlight challenging class, race, and even gender politics that have been largely neglected for too long. May a forward-thinking and historically-attuned body of food scholarship continue to help us all see the messy complexity, to think beyond the categories we’ve created … and to ask the hard questions.

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Kids, Farms & Food: A Summer Camp

By Kira O’ Donnell

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The educational programs hosted this year by the UC Davis Good Life Garden and The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science included a very successful children’s summer camp called “Kids, Farms & Food.” The sold-out one-week camps, held in July and August, introduced campers aged 9 to 13 to a number of small, local family farms, where they enjoyed educational tasting tours, learned about crops (and in some instances, livestock) grown on the property, and talked with farmers.

Other activities included cooking with local chefs in the RMI teaching kitchen (where they learned to make individual pizzas, salads, vinaigrettes, and croutons), an array of hands-on activities in the Good Life Garden, and — on the final day — a pie-making workshop utilizing beautifully ripe stone fruits that the campers had picked during their farm visits.

Highlights of the week, according to campers: A behind-the-scenes tour of Whole Foods Market; devouring fresh, warm peaches from Good Humus farm (www.goodhumus.com); and feeding hungry chickens at Yolo Press/Yolo Bulb farm (http://daviswiki.org/Yolo_Bulb_Farm). The camp, created and managed by Kira O’Donnell, senior program development manager for the Good Life Garden, was featured in the Sacramento Bee (www.sacbee.com/yolo/story/2060290.html); the Davis Enterprise (http://search.davisenterprise.com/display.php?id=52166), and on the national website for the Farm-Based Education Association (www.farmbasededucation.org)

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New Website Launched for RMI Center for Wine Economics

By Julian Alston

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The RMI Center for Wine Economics undertakes and facilitates research and education about the economics of the production and consumption of winegrapes and wine in California and around the world. Our recently launched web page (http://vinecon.ucdavis.edu/) is designed to offer comprehensive up-to-date access to information resources related to wine economics. It provides links to various other sources as well as information directly related to the center and its programs.

The web page provides listings for a growing group of associates including representatives from most of the major wine-producing regions around the world, as well as participants in various wine economics research projects underway at UC Davis, also detailed on the web page. The research program includes studies of wine markets, prices, and quality; studies of impacts of climate change on wine production; and studies of invasive pests and diseases affecting winegrapes, among other things. Listings are also shown for the advisory board that helps with developing ideas and planning the center's programs of activities.

The range of activities is growing. Recently we participated in the planning and management of Beeronomics (http://www.beeronomics.org/) in Leuven, Belgium in May 2009, and the third annual conference of the American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE) in Reims, France (http://www.wine-economics.org/meetings/Reims2009/details.htm) in June 2009.

In the coming academic year we are co-organizing a three-day pre-conference workshop on wine economics (associated with the annual conference of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, AARES, in February 2010, in Adelaide, Australia), jointly convened by AARES and the AAWE (http://vinecon.ucdavis.edu/events/?id=206), and we will be hosting the fourth annual conference of the AAWE at UC Davis in summer 2010.

In addition to these major events we are developing ideas for a program of speakers on the UC Davis campus, beginning in the fall. We welcome contributions of ideas (and money and wine!).

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Upcoming Events

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Contributors to "RMI E-newsletter"

  • Julian Alston, professor, Agricultural and Resource Economics, (530) 752-3283, julian@primal.ucdavis.edu
  • Ann Filmer, director of communications, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, (530) 754-6788, afilmer@ucdavis.edu
  • Jennifer Goldstein, doctoral student, Cultural Geography, University of California, Los Angeles, jgoldstein@ucla.edu
  • Clare M. Hasler, executive director, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, UC Davis, (530) 754-6349, cmhasler@ucdavis.edu
  • Roger Lansing, freelance writer, Winebusiness.com, (707) 939-0833, info@winebusiness.com
  • Kimberly D. Nettles-Barcelόn, associate professor and undergraduate faculty adviser, Women and Gender Studies, UC Davis, (530) 752-8545, kdnettles@ucdavis.edu
  • Julianne Nola, senior project manager, Architects and Engineers, jmnola@ucdavis.edu, (530) 757- 3107
  • Kira O’Donnell, senior writer, UC Davis Grounds, (530) 681-6412, kdodonnell@ucdavis.edu,
  • Nicole Sturzenberger, senior writer, UC Davis Olive Center, (530) 754-9301, ndsturzenberger@ucdavis.edu
  • Jim Wolpert, viticulture specialist, Viticulture and Enology, (530) 754-6245, jawolpert@ucdavis.edu