UNDERSTANDING FOODWAYS | Learning • Growing • Sustaining
The Society of Nutrition Education and Behavior’s (SNEB) International Conference provides nutrition professionals the opportunity to explore the latest in nutrition education and behavior change research, practice and policy. In recent years, the financial loss SNEB incurred from our conferences has increased to unsustainable levels; so, a change to our conference model is unavoidable. I have been asked to envision and create a new model that retains everything we love about SNEB but is fiscally viable. To achieve this, we are holding the conference at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee. I am confident that the changes we are making will result in exciting and positive outcomes for our conference and society.
One of the things that has not changed is that our conference has a theme. The 2024 SNEB conference theme is, “Understanding Foodways: Learning, Growing and Sustaining.” Since announcing this theme, I have had many people ask, “What is a Foodway?” Foodways refers to why we eat what we eat and what that means. Foodways are shaped by culture, religion, tradition, geographic location, climates, time periods, politics and socio-demographic power differentials. 1-5 In 1942, the term foodways was coined by three graduate students who were studying the food behavior of people living in under resourced communities.6 In 1971, Jay Anderson defined foodways as: “the whole interrelated system of food conceptualization and evaluation, procurement, preservation, preparation, consumption and nutrition shared by all the members of a particular society.”7 Since then, other constructs have been included such as attitudes, beliefs, transferring of knowledge, activism, justice, folklore, symbolism and tradition as well as food production including gathering, presentation, distribution, marketing and food waste.1-5
The theme also includes the words Learning, Growing and Sustaining. I hope all of us will experience these three things during our conference, but these are also things we work towards in our practice. In nutrition education, on the way to behavior change, learning is often one of the essential parts of the process. In our practice, we hope that people we work with will not only grow in their knowledge and skills but also grow healthy bodies and we of course want to sustain these positive outcomes. Learning, Growing and Sustaining also refers to our work towards learning how to grow a healthy global sustainable food system.
I hope you will all come to learn more about foodways, grow new skills so we can better help others, find ways to sustain our passion for what we do and see the exciting changes to the conference model. If you do come, in addition to everything you already love about an SNEB conference, you will find an amazing, vibrant city with so much to do! So, let’s get started planning an amazing experience in Knoxville, TN July 29 – August 1, 2024. Please think about submitting a program proposal (due early October) and about an abstract you can submit in January and let me know if you are interested in helping to plan this conference.
by Sarah Colby, PhD, RD, President-Elect, Society of Nutrition Education and Behavior
- Lum CM, Ferrière Le Vayer M. Urban Foodways and Communication : Ethnographic Studies in Intangible Cultural Food Heritages Around the World. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2016.
- Cheung SCH, Tan C. Food and Foodways in Asia : Resource, Tradition and Cooking. London ;: Routledge, 2007.
- Williams-Forson PA, Counihan C. Taking Food Public : Redefining Foodways in a Changing World. New York: Routledge, 2012.
- Pesantubbee ME, Zogry MJ. Native Foodways: Indigenous North American Religious Traditions and Foods. State University of New York Press, 2021.
- Highfield JB. Food and Foodways in African Narratives: Community, Culture, and Heritage. New York, NY: Routledge, 2017.
- Bennett J, Smith HL, Passin H. Food and Culture in Southern Illinois–A Preliminary Report. Am Socio Rev. 1942;7:645.
- Anderson J. The Study of Contemporary Foodways in American Folklife Research. Keystone Folklore Quarterly. 1971;16:155-63.