Food Studies: Meet Leslie, Studying Design Management and Slow Food in Savannah

GOOD's second Food Studies blogger is Leslie, who is applying design thinking to the Slow Food movement.

Food Studies features the voices of volunteer student bloggers from a variety of different food- and agriculture-related programs at universities around the world.

Currently, I am in my second year as a Design Management MFA student at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

As we’ve seen from numerous articles and conversations on the GOOD web-o-sphere, design and food are inherently connected and much can be gained from using design as a lens to study food (and vice versa). As the third SCAD graduate student to study alternative and local food systems, I feel very confident in the productive relationship between food and design. So much of the Design Management program deals with systems thinking, the ability to understand complex or “wicked” problems, and opportunities to study and facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration. The current state of our food system encompasses all of these things and will require outside thinkers to make tiny steps forward toward a more sustainable future.

However, my relationship with food began long before my studies at SCAD. As a teenager, I became frustrated with the monotony of our family dinners and began to slowly experiment with new flavors, textures, and methods of preparation. For a while, food was more than a hobby, it was an obsession. I would spend hours scouring cook books, magazines, and web sites for the latest recipes to add to my collection. But it wasn’t until spending a semester in Italy during college that I realized the subliminal power of food and how our relationship with it provides context to how we view and experience the world. Since then, Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food, has been a source of inspiration for my both my lifestyle and my studies.

My thesis, which is still in the early research stages, is an investigation of the impact of Slow Food chapters in the Southern United States (specifically Nashville, TN, Charleston, SC, and Atlanta, GA). As I search for the intellectual handles to support my thesis argument, I will examine the eating routines, customs, and traditions that are essential structures of everyday life and that have drastically changed in the last century due to improvements in technology, industrialized food systems, and globalization. The origins of the Slow Food philosophy were intended to re-create this inherent connection to the land, but they are sometimes misunderstood in the United States—primarily due to social class distinctions and the ability of the wealthy to promote and experience Slow Food, while more than 50 million Americans suffer from food insecurity. When only the affluent can participate, is Slow Food at risk of becoming an elitist brand?

By asking these tough questions, I hope to uncover insights that will lead to more effective and meaningful Slow Food chapters in the United States. Although I am only in the administrative stages of introducing a recognized Slow Food Savannah chapter, I would like to apply my findings to the creation of this organization; one that really does speak to good, clean, and fair food for all. And as a GOOD Food Studies blogger, I'll be sharing my design management findings with you all!

To be continued... Leslie is a student blogger for the Food Studies feature on GOOD's Food hub. Don't miss the first posts from fellow Food Studies bloggers Christine and Erin, and if you're a food or agriculture student who would like to learn more about becoming a volunteer blogger, we'd love to hear from you! You can email me, Nicola Twilley, at nicola[at]goodinc[dot]com.

All photos by the author.


In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

Keep Reading Show less

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

An anonymous White House official claims President Trump cruelly limited Hispanic immigrants in their new book, "A Warning."

The book, to be released on November 19, gives an alleged insider account of the Trump White House and paints a picture of the president as a chaotic man who lacks the mental and moral acumen required for the job.

The anonymous staffer says that Trump once feigned a Hispanic accent and made fun of women attempting to immigrate to the U.S.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The 2020 election is a year away, but Donald Trump has some serious ground to cover if he doesn't want it to be a historical blowout.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that Trump loses by double digits to the top Democratic contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden (56%-39%); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (54%-39%); Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (56%-39%); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (52%-41%); and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (52%-41%) all have big leads over the president.

Keep Reading Show less
Yad Vashem

Since 1992, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous has been holding reunion ceremonies between Holocaust survivors and rescuers once a year. But the tradition is coming to an end, as many have died or are too frail to travel. What might be the last reunion of its kind took place when a 92-year-old woman met up with the two surviving family members that she helped hide during the Holocaust, and their descendants.

Sarah Yanai and Yossi Mor introduced Melpomeni Dina (nee Gianopoulou) to their almost 40 family members, all decedents of the Mordechai family, the family of seven that Dina and her two sisters hid during WWII. "There are no words to describe this feeling," Dina told the Jeruselum Post. "It is very emotional for us to be together again."

Keep Reading Show less