Museum of Science Boston Presents Let’s Talk About Food

The Museum of Science announces Let’s Talk About Food, a celebration and exploration of what we eat and why it matters. Under this new initiative, the Museum will present an ongoing series of public programs that spotlight how food influences our culture and shapes our health and environment.

Starting October 2010, the Museum invites visitors to explore the art, science, and culture of food from varied perspectives, alongside culinary luminaries like Mark Bittman, Jody Adams, Corby Kummer, and Tiffani Faison. Fall programs will include a waterfront cooking lesson with Boston’s best chefs; a screening of the film, FRESH; and a program that will challenge high school students to design a healthy, tasty, and planet-friendly school lunch with the help of urban gardening experts, nutritionists, and Craigie on Main Chef Tony Maws. At citizen discussion group events, including a forum moderated by Adam Ragusea of WBUR-FM, the public will carefully consider food system issues like health and nutrition, food security, food access, fisheries, and land use, and make informed recommendations about what solutions should be implemented. In spring 2011 the Museum will share these recommendations with policymakers, stakeholders, and the broader public — and celebrate with an outdoor festival of food and science.

“The Museum strives to inspire visitors to explore how current science and technology are integral in shaping our culture. We’re thrilled to welcome the public to the Museum’s ‘endless table’ for this open conversation and examination of food through the scientific lenses of health and sustainability,” said Museum president & director Ioannis Miaoulis. Miaoulis, a former dean of the School of Engineering at Tufts University, developed a course called Gourmet Engineering and is passionate about the science and technology behind food and cooking. “Food shapes our lives, culture, and world in complex and unpredictable ways. We hope that the Let’s Talk About Food initiative will help demystify important aspects of the food system and inspire discussion that will lead to future solutions.”

Earlier this year as part of its current science and technology offerings, the Museum presented public programs focused on food to enthusiastic crowds. In response to the popularity of these programs and public interest in the topic, the Museum created a two-year series dedicated to the exploration of food issues. Writer and journalist Louisa Kasdon, who moderated the Museum’s panel discussion at a packed screening of the film, Food Inc. last spring, has joined Let’s Talk About Food as project consultant.

“Everyone needs to, and loves to talk about food. But we need to bring together all aspects of the food discussion under one Big Tent, where everything from discussions on what to do about obesity, the pros and cons of farmed fish, the mysteries of molecular gastronomy, the science of taste, and the issues of sustainability, food security and food safety—can be explored in an enlightened, educated and entertaining forum,” said Kasdon. She added, “I believe that this museum has a unique opportunity to be that Big Tent and to lead the way for other science museums across the country.”

While developing this initiative, the Museum invited feedback from diverse members of the New England food community, including representatives from farmer’s markets, restaurants, government, non-profits, schools and universities, culinary writers, filmmakers, and medical professionals. Their perspectives and contributions will help shape the topics and events that the Museum will present in the next two years.

About the Museum of Science, Boston

The Museum takes a hands-on approach to science, engineering, math, and technology, attracting about 1.5 million visitors a year via its programs and 700 interactive exhibits. Founded in 1830, the Museum was first to embrace all the sciences under one roof. Highlights include the Thomson Theater of Electricity, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Mugar Omni Theater, Gordon Current Science & Technology Center, 3-D Digital Cinema and Butterfly Garden. Reaching 25,000 teens a year worldwide via the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, the Museum also leads a multi-museum, $20 million National Science Foundation-funded nanotechnology education initiative. The Museum’s “Science Is an Activity” exhibit plan has been awarded many NSF grants and influenced science centers worldwide. Its National Center for Technological Literacy® aims to enhance knowledge of engineering and technology for people of all ages and inspire the next generation of engineers, inventors, and scientists.

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