Foodprint L.A.

For anyone in or near Los Angeles next weekend, consider stopping by Foodprint L.A., hosted at LACMA.

[Image: A robot strawberry harvester, courtesy of Robotic Harvesting LLC].

There are two things to attend. The first is a ticketed walking tour, which kicks off on Saturday, December 8th, at 1pm; it will be led by indefatigable design writer Alissa Walker: “En route, we’ll check out the roasting equipment at LA’s celebrated Handsome Coffee, explore the inside of West Central Produce’s state-of-the-art banana-ripening facilities, preview a future Ferry Building-style food market, and more.”

Those banana-ripening rooms alone deserve an exclamation point, as Edible Geography‘s write-up of an earlier such trip—albeit to a facility here in New York—makes clear. In Nicola’s highly-recommended exploration of what she calls the “vast, distributed artificial winter that has reshaped our entire food system” and that “remains,” she says, “for the most part, unmapped,” we read that banana-ripening rooms are “a specialized architecture of pressurized, temperature- and atmosphere-controlled rooms that, contrary to logical expectation, require heavy-duty refrigeration.” As such, they are a kind of spatio-thermal fantasy straight out of the work of architect Philippe Rahm.

[Image: A banana-ripening room photographed by Nicola Twilley, via Cabinet Magazine].

Get your tickets here and hopefully we’ll see you at 1pm on Saturday for what should be a fantastic afternoon.

The second half of Foodprint L.A. is also the main focus, a free day of panel discussions and public Q&As, centered around food and the landscape of greater Los Angeles, from water to waste, synthetic biology to robotically-harvested strawberries:

Until the 1950s, Los Angeles County was the top agricultural county in the United States; now, it has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the nation. With the Los Angeles Food Policy Council approaching its second birthday, the timing is perfect for a truly cross-disciplinary discussion that explores the past, present, and future of food and the city. Foodprint L.A. panelists will explore the forces that have shaped the Angeleno foodscape—from taco trucks to the world’s largest Frito factory and the eviction of South Central Farm—and speculate on how to feed Los Angeles in the future.

As usual, this installment of Foodprint features four panels: Feast, Famine, and Other Scenarios (moderated by Alexis Madrigal); Edible Archaeology (moderated by Sarah Rich); Culinary Cartography (moderated by Nicola Twilley); and Zoning Diet (moderated by myself, of all people).

[Image: Courtesy of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council].

This daylong series of panels is free and open to the public, and it includes everything from paleofuturism and the future of cheese, to variant apples and global appetites. Hope to see you there—and feel free to browse the ever-expanding Foodprint event archive to find out more, or pick up a copy of the newly released Foodprint Papers, Volume 1.

2 thoughts on “Foodprint L.A.”

  1. Ever visited an apple processing plant? The long term storage rooms there are more or less the opposite of the banana ripening room, and just as fascinating. 0(2) levels down to 0.5%, oversaturdared with C0(2), basically putting the apples in suspended animation. Also nearly immediately fatal to unprotected human beings.

  2. Saying "Until the 1950s, Los Angeles County was the top agricultural county in the United States; now, it has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the nation." is like saying "Until 1991 Los Angeles had a GM plant; now it has a lot of car accidents." The second clause doesn't follow from the first.

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