Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the United States in the early months of 2020, national media outlets have featured photos of lines of cars outside food banks in cities across the country. Such images serve as a shocking reminder that, yes, hunger exists in America. In this piece, I highlight how drastic changes in American food programs in the 1970s shaped contemporary food welfare policies. Enacting a politics of austerity, presidents and politicians began to place limits around food welfare spending within government, opening the door for a more far-reaching politics of disentitlement in the 1980s. These changes created lasting legacies that impact our relationship to hunger in America today, including normalizing the reliance of millions of Americans on…

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Just as the field of food history has achieved prominence in recent years it is true to say the same of popular interest in Native foods. Around the country, Native heirloom crops frequently show up at farmers’ markets. Interested consumers can even purchase produce in the form of a monthly TSA (“Tribally Supported Agriculture”) share. Gardeners across the world can order seeds to grow Ute squash or Cherokee “Trail of Tears” pole beans to plant in their backyards. In southern Arizona, O’odham farmers are raising tepary beans, sixty-day corn, and harvesting ciollim buds, all of which you can purchase online. Almost any grocer in the United States, from the grungiest co-op to the swankiest supermarket, stocks their shelves with ancient…

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The heated debate on the European “Nutella divide” that hit the news in 2017 only corroborated long-established East European beliefs: After the fall of the Socialist regimes, people did not get the much longed-for western quality products. Instead, substandard goods were shipped eastwards: Adidas trainers that would not sell, Swiss knives with dull blades, expired foods with new sell-by dates. Finally there was official proof that in the East, Nutella was less creamy (smooth), Coca Cola tasted flatter and fish fingers held less fish. The offended Visegrad states complained that they were abused as European dumping ground. The manufacturers first attributed this to adjusting recipes to regional taste preferences, and also – after some probing – to lower spending power.…

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In May 1891, the London Vegetarian Society held a meeting in Portsmouth. Present were not just English, but also two Indian members, T.T. Majumdar and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, both students of law in London. For Gandhi, later one of the leading figures in the Indian independence movement, membership in the London Vegetarian Society was a formative experience. It allowed him to discover vegetarianism as an ethically motivated choice and integrate it into a philosophy of non-violence. The encounter was not a singular instance. It was part of a larger entanglement between European vegetarianism and India.   In order to buttress what was then a fringe lifestyle, vegetarians in Europe made frequent reference to meat abstention in other parts of the…

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“I know you’re sick. It’s all that whiteman junk food we eat,” the elderly Aboriginal protagonist Charlie remarks towards his terminally ill friend. The Australian drama Charlie’s Country (directed by Rolf de Heer), which had its world premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival in October 2013, presents a fictional engagement with community life in the Northern Territory after the implementation of the Intervention. De Heer’s film emphatically addresses Indigenous people’s disadvantages—especially in relation to food and health issues. Since healthier options are inaccessible, Charlie and his community rely on the unhealthy food they can buy from the general store of their community and are consequently made ill by their diet. Charlie would prefer to hunt rather than consume the “whiteman…

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