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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

What to Eat? Origins, Choices, Impacts and the Future of Food

Instructor(s): Monica Raveret-Richter, Biology

What can we eat? What should we eat? What do we eat? What might we eat? We inhabit a food environment radically different from that of our recent ancestors, and we perceive a staggering array of choices. Marketers urge us to consume more and compete to convince us to favor their products. In this seminar, students will survey the biological and perceived diversity of our foods and explore and analyze the biological, cultural, economic and political characteristics of the systems from which we currently obtain our food. Using evidence and methodologies from both the natural and social sciences, students will investigate how we perceive and respond to food, and how our perceptions, past experiences, evolved predispositions, environment and culture all interact to influence our food choices. After consideration of both the personal and broader impacts of food choice, we will revisit the topic of food systems, discussing short and long-term perspectives and considering how we might better maximize benefits, minimize negative impacts, and eat deliciously.

Course Offered