Michael Carolan says that to solve our food problems, we need to get to know the people in our “foodscape.”
Can hands-on experience foster more empathetic views towards migrant labor? A sociologist investigates.
This Thursday, while most American families jockey over white and dark meat on the Thanksgiving turkey, some others will fight for a piece of the tail. It's rich and fatty; it's been described as "concentrated dark meat." But Michael Carolan, who teaches about food and sociology at Colorado State University, says he had to call about a dozen grocery stores on Colorado's Front Range to find one. He says most turkeys sold commercially in the U.S. don't include the tail. Instead, they get exported to places where they're more commonly eaten -- and even considered a delicacy.
Intensive livestock farming is a huge global industry that serves up millions of tons of beef, pork and poultry every year. When I asked one producer recently to name something his industry thinks about that consumers don’t, he replied, “Beaks and butts.” This was his shorthand for animal parts that consumers – especially in wealthy nations – don’t choose to eat.
America’s political divide goes by many names – rural-urban, blue-red, metro-non-metro and left-right. We are told it is bad and that it is only getting worse, thanks to phenomena like fake news, economic uncertainty and the migration of young people away from their rural homes.
And it’s fairly common for one side of the divide to speak for the other, without knowledge of who the other really is or what they stand for. An example: The term that’s been used to describe my state’s booming economy – “Colorado’s hot streak” – is in some ways the opposite of what many rural Coloradans are experiencing. But their story rarely makes the news.
In this week’s Q+A Business Podcast Corin Dann speaks to visiting US Professor of Sociology Dr Michael Carolan, about the future of food and why cheap food can be more costly than people realise. Corin Dann is joined by visiting US Professor of Sociology Dr Michael Carolan in this week’s Business Podcast.