Food, Identity, and Environmental Education

Sarah Riggs Stapleton

Abstract


While food is an exceedingly rich area for environmental education, I caution environmental educators and researchers from moving too quickly into messaging about what people should eat, given the many complexities around food and identity. Eating, as an inherently identity-laden practice, is fraught with complicated meanings, dilemmas, and predicaments. Far too often in environmental discourse, we focus on the eating choices of individuals, but fail to acknowledge the extent to which eating is influenced by larger social and cultural contexts. This paper will explore some tensions between eating as an identity practice and eating as a sustainable practice through an exploration of a phenomenological autobiographic account and through literature on food, identity, race, and class.

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