Breaking Bread: Finding Peace and Justice Through Food


INSTRUCTOR: Erica del Riego


SCHEDULE: Tuesdays, Thursdays, 10:00am-1:20pm (Summer B)

Course Description

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” -Julia Child

Food brings people together: around a table, at a celebration, or after a funeral. It forms the bookends of our lives, from our first cry for milk to our final request for a familiar favorite dish. This course focuses on human’s relationship to food and the rise in food insecurity in the United States due to the Covid 19 Pandemic. For the past 2 years there has been a surge in ‘foodie’ culture, creating an appreciation for food, cooking, and fusion cuisine. Yet, at the same time, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), approximately 10.5% (13.8 million) of U.S. households were food insecure during the years 2019 and 2020, the Covid Pandemic exacerbating a national issue.

Through this course, students will reflect on their relationships with food, based on culture, family, and traditions. They will keep ‘food journals’ each week, which encourage at-home cooking or the discovery of new eateries in the Miami area. Additionally, through course readings and digital materials, students will become acquainted with the intrinsic connection between humans and the natural world through food. Weekly reading/course material assignments will be assessed based on online discussion posts and in class discussions. Students will also engage in class ‘filed trips’ to a local Miami farm in Homestead, a Miami kosher Jewish bakery, and two restaurants that are prominent cultural centerpieces for the Hispanic and African American communities in Miami.

During the semester, students’ work will center around, and culminate in, an individual digital storytelling project where each student will utilize a form of oral storytelling—oral interview, podcast, video interview, visual storytelling platform, or Instagram stories—to highlight the efforts of a local Miami eatery, food pantry, or farmer, or food distributor who has made an impact on the issue of food insecurity in the community. This project presents students with avenues for community engagement and places students in contact with individuals making a difference in their community through the love of food.

And yes, we will also bake and break bread at the end of the course!