Technology is a double-edged sword, both a blessing and a curse. That’s true of this website as well as of the current state of food. Industrial agriculture developed out of humankind’s attempts to tame nature into guaranteeing a sufficient supply of food. Human inventions—technology—came up with ways to circumvent the natural cycles of growth and the seasons as well as the unexpected and harsh turns of nature—storms, droughts, floods, blights, and so on. For a variety of reasons, nature came to be seen as the enemy, and technology the savior, the voice of reason and logic, and the reliable, dependable path. American society, though, with its optimistic belief in the human capacity for invention, allowed technology to take over our respect for nature, and, partly because it was more profitable, industrialization took over every aspect of our food system and our food culture.
Part of the Center’s mission is to explore how technology offers the potential to reconnect us with our food—and through food, with our pasts, places, and other people. We point out the ways in which the industrial food system has hindered this connectedness of food, but we try to place that system within historical frameworks, so that we can understand how and why it developed—and better understand our place as individuals within that system. Change, if needed, has to occur at both a systemic level and at the level of the individual making choices on a daily basis.
All of this is a long explanation for why the Center website has been in transition since March of 2015. Technology enabled its original creation, but technology also allowed robot calls to break into the site, using it to advertise a variety of products, from insurance contracts to Russian escort services. The site was therefore shut down and transitioned to a new host server. It also had to be rebuilt and now has a new look and some new features. Readers can sign up for a monthly newsletter, and some of the posts will allow for comments and questions.
We hope that the new technology will help us reconnect with our readers! Welcome back!
Lucy M. Long