Schooling food in contemporary times: taking stock

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Leahy, D, Gray, E, Cutter-Mackenzie, A & Eames, C 2015, 'Schooling food in contemporary times: taking stock', Australian Journal of Environmental Education, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 1-11.

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Over the past decade we have witnessed a proliferation and intensification of food pedagogies across a range of sites. This article begins by considering two pedagogical scenes that attempt to address food. They were enacted within educational settings in Australia; one a Year 8 (13 years of age) health education classroom, the other a professional learning seminar. Each were heavily imbued with the obesity prevention imperatives that have come to characterise social, political and educational discourse around food in contemporary times. Using these scenes as a springboard, we move to consider the place where we initially envisioned food might intersect with environmental education. We imagined that it would be a space with significant potential for approaching teaching and learning about food in new ways. Deploying menu as metaphor, the authors explore the possibilities for this new terrain and argue that bringing a Foucauldian inspired ‘ethics of discomfort’ to the table might help us take stock of contemporary approaches and their effects. Given the dominance of crisis-driven responses that tend to characterise school food education, we conclude by suggesting that we need to interrupt the dominant discourses that circulate around food and try to engage with some new possibilities for teaching and learning about food.

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