Back to the Foodture

Back to the Foodture

West Houston Institute Grand Challenge

About the Challenge

BACK TO THE FOODTURE is an interdisciplinary challenge proposed by Biology faculty member, Dr. Nazanin Hebel, that will kick off in Fall 2020 as an initiative of the West Houston Institute. The project seeks faculty from courses across the Arts and Sciences to produce a learning experience that demonstrates the connectedness of disciplines in our increasingly entangled world. Students in participating courses will create authentic products that address the following question:

quote-white  How can we connect diverse cultural traditions with the latest in scientific understanding and cutting-edge technologies to inspire a future of food that nourishes individuals and communities? Grand Challenge Question

Food can serve as a universal focal point, bridging multiple areas of study:

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Science of Food – In the sciences, it provides a ubiquitous subject for scientific study at the molecular level (Biology, Chemistry, etc.), at the microbiological level (Microbiology, Nutrition, and Food Safety), and at the genetic level (genetically modified food stocks), as well as their production, sustainability, and medicinal uses.

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Humanity of Food – Just as food is intricately connected to science, so too is it connected to the humanities. Whether examining the history of food and its sustainability or the oral history of humankind that was shared around family tables, at feasts, or over treaty meals, food has been an essential ingredient in human experience across all epochs.

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Art of Food – The culinary arts reveal how food can be an aesthetic experience as rich in interpretation as any other contemporary art form. They also connect the rich and diverse cultural traditions of food with the science of chemical interactions that take heat, salt, fat, and acid and turn them into the dishes that we cherish.

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Technology of Food – Digital technologies, such as 3D Printing, AI, and Coding are changing our experiences with food just as much as they are transforming all other areas of our lives. From sharing what we eat on Instagram, to demonstrating our favorite recipes online, to making our food using automation and algorithms, the future of food is digital as much as it is anything else.

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For more information:

For questions about the challenge or about the West Houston Institute, email Jordan Carswell, Interim Director, West Houston Institute.