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“Eating is an Agricultural Act”?

: The Ethics of Food in America


To complement your learning in Chemistry and examine food through a Humanities lens, we will
be reading Michael Pollan’s groundbreaking book, ​The Omnivore’s Dilemma​, and discussing
the relationship that we--as individuals and as a society--have with our food sources. This will
include an exploration of the different “food chains” that we see manifest in our culture and a
discussion about the ​ethics​--or guiding principles--that impact this relationship.

Essential Questions for our food study and ​The Omnivore’s Dilemma​:
● How does food in America get from the source to your plate?
● How do we characterize America’s relationship with food? What are the political and
economic factors that shape this relationship?
● How would you characterize your personal “FOOD ETHIC”? What factors influence this
ethic (ie. financial, health, environmental, cultural, moral, etc.)? How does your personal
relationship with food impact your happiness and well being?
Ethic:
a​ ​:​ a set of moral principles ​:​ a theory or system of moral values <the present-day materialistic
ethic> ​ <an old-fashioned work ​ethic​> —often used in plural but singular or plural in construction
<an elaborate ​ethics> ​ <Christian ​ethics​>
b​ ​plural but sing or plural in constr​ ​:​ the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group
<professional ​ethics> ​
c​ ​:​ a guiding philosophy
d​ ​:​ a consciousness of moral importance <forge a conservation ​ethic​>

THE PROJECT:
In ​groups​, you will collaborate on a multi-course dinner that shows your enduring
understandings from Chemistry and Humanities. This meal is the project AND the exhibition,
and your diners/audience should learn about science and the ethics of sourcing your
ingredients. We will shape the vision for this event together as a class and document it well in
order to present it at All-School Exhibition.
As ​individuals​, you will write a reflective personal essay that exposes your own emerging food
ethic as an eater in American society.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma​ Reading Calendar and Important Dates


Monday March 11: Quiz on Intro and Part 1
● The quiz will be a mixture of short answer from the ​study questions​ and one longer
answer that will ask you to synthesize the content of Part 1.
Wednesday, March 13: Part 2 due
● No big quiz, but be ready for a very small pop quiz to check for understanding
Wednesday, April 4: Parts 3 and 4 due
● There may or may not be a quiz, but you should be prepared to show your
understanding and write in class on the content of these sections.
APRIL: “Food Ethic” essay, guest speakers, project design, and meal planning
Week of April 15-19: The Meal, and the Reflection Writing
Animas Test Kitchen:
The Science of a Good Meal

Essential Questions for the Chemistry of Food and Cooking Investigation


● How can food’s energy content, nutrition, texture, taste etc. be explained in terms of the
atomic, molecular and macromolecular structure of the food?
● ​How does cooking transform food and how can these transformations be understood as
chemical processes?
● Locally and globally, how is our modern food system impacting agriculture, human
health, food safety, food availability, the environment and society?

THE PROJECT:
In ​groups​, you will collaborate on a multi-course dinner that shows your enduring
understandings from Chemistry and Humanities. This meal is the project AND the exhibition,
and your diners/audience should learn about science and the ethics of sourcing your
ingredients. We will shape the vision for this event together as a class and document it well in
order to present it at All-School Exhibition.
As ​individuals​, you will improve a recipe by experimentally evaluating the manipulation of one
or more variables in the preparation and cooking processes. You will then create an artifact to
showcase your understanding of the relevant chemistry for your portion of the meal and the
tests you conducted to optimize the recipe for your portion of the meal.

Content Focus & Important Dates


March​: stoichiometry and calculations involving the mole
3/2 Mole & Stoichiometry labs at FLC

April​: macromolecules, bonding, how structure affects properties, relevant independent study
4/6 Final Lab(TBD) at FLC
4/10 SAT Test
4/17 CMAS Testing
Week of April 23-27: The Meal, All-School Exhibition (4/26), Reflection Writing