Students Take Food Ethics Class at Wilson College

PHI-232/332, or simply regarded as Food Ethics, is an experimental course that began in Spring 2019 by Associate Professor of Philosophy, John Elia.

Food ethics is an experiential class that promotes deep thinking about food and increases the understanding of the ethics that surround it. Some subjects that are discussed in the class include diet and nutrition, food sourcing, farming, the environment, and how our food experiences might tell us something about how we should live. However, the class is not only limited to a lecture because as Dr. Elia pronounces, “reading/listening/talking about food, and experiencing food are not the same.” With this, the class integrates “food experiences” into the required work for a course where students will cook in class, try different foods, eat in restaurants, learn new recipes, and experiment with a new food.

Dr. Elia proceeds to explain his inspiration for the class stating, “I went to a conference called ‘The Meaning of Food’ last spring with Dr. Raulli. It opened my eyes to some simple ways of using food in the classroom to create experiential opportunities for learning. Just think of all of the skills that cooking in a small group requires: communication, critical thinking and problem solving, working in a team, creativity. Then, at the end of it, you get to enjoy eating what you made together. I just had to try it. So, here I am teaching Food Ethics for the first time.”

Jacob Slifka ‘23, a student currently enrolled in the class, was asked a few questions regarding his experiences in the class.

Q1: What has been your favorite part about the course?

A: I love discussing new ideas and topics or coming back to old topics and making them new with discussing its current state of being. Food and the ethics of food will become even more important as food evolves. For me, when I hear ideas and thoughts from others about what we are reading, or even just the ideas from the reading, it expands my own thought process.

Q2: Would you recommend the class to other students? Why or why not?

A: Yes! Though the authors of the essays we read can be preachy, our professor and the fellow students are not. We have our opinions but it is all about gaining a new perspective. A class where you can discuss things, instead of just getting rote lecture allows for new understanding.

Q3: Why did you choose to enroll in Food Ethics?

A: Honestly, a class of this nature is required. However, I chose this over the other courses because I have a huge passion about food and cooking it.

Currently, the class runs on Mondays and Fridays from 3:40PM to 4:55PM and is offered on the spring semesters of odd years.

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