Archive for January, 2010

Williams … burgers?

Alternative/Real/Whole/Healthy food in Williamsburg, VA
– possibilities and realities

I’m interested in considering the ideas surrounding, and practical realities affecting, consumption of whole, healthy food in Williamsburg. On the national level, the last ten years have evidenced a growing popularization and awareness of the importance of diet and healthy food choices. Afternoon television shows like ‘Dr. Oz’ frequently focus on improving American’s health, especially through the types of food they eat, and the Obama White House has re-introduced the White House garden, stressing both health and economic benefits. On a more local level, the Virginia Gazette recently (January 23, 2010) ran an article, “High test fuel for the body: Local dietitian explains the importance of nutrition to good health,” with the simple message that: “All the good foods are out there. Fuel your body with real food. The more natural the form, the more nutritious.”

But where are these ‘good foods?’ Something so basic and so necessary to sustain long, healthy, happy lives. Who knows about them and who has the ability to incorporate them into their day-to-day? These are the basic considerations of my project this semester. I would like to broadly focus on awareness, availability, and affordability as it pertains to Williamsburg city residents.

A route into this subject might be through the cultural producers involved – at the local level – in changing consumer’s knowledge and their relationship to the foods their buying. Health services, churches, food banks, primary schools, and other organizations that are concerned with the well-being of their members and the community at large might be a good source of information. Student activists from the College might also be worth consideration and cooperation. All of these groups are helping to shape the eating habits and overall lifestyles of Williamsburg residents/Americans and changing how we all think about and relate to food.

To do this topic justice, I hope to focus on the reasons behind these trends (if they exist in the first place, of course) and who they are affecting the most. Awareness doesn’t necessarily guarantee availability or affordability, and socioeconomic status, race, and regional distinctions might play a large role in the variety of eating habits to be found in this town.

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The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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