We are pleased to initiate a new series of articles from the Brown Institute at the Columbia Journalism Review. Our first offering is about a dinner we hosted with the Aspen Institute and the Asia Society on climate change.
There’s a story behind every ingredient that goes into our meals—each plant or animal we consume carries the weight of the place where it was raised, the way it was cultivated, the history of its breeding. And as climate change alters the very nature of our planetary ecology—threatening certain staples and delicacies and modifying how and where others are grown—the narratives behind those ingredients are likely to shift in radical and unpredictable ways…
These granular food narratives, which are rarely told, often hide within larger stories: They’re in articles about the fate of honeybees; or about the ways warming has affected the reach of certain plants; or about the unsustainability of large-scale cattle ranching.
And although the story of what we eat is critical to understanding the day-to-day experience of our changing ecosystem, climate journalism often looks beyond food, and food journalism rarely gets at the issues behind the experience of the meal.
But could a meal itself be a form of journalism—one that could bridge the gap between these two storytelling genres?