The GAFS Reading Collective

What is the GAFS Reading Collective?

It’s kind of like a book club, except it’s for food studies graduate students. Each month members can read the chosen book, chapter, or article. GAFS will then host a monthly, online session to discuss the work, chat about life, and meet food studies colleagues. We want the Reading Collective experience to be as fun as informative so the readings will probably tend to be either a bit more popular or a bit more obscure than your professor’s syllabi.

Want to meet fellow food studies grad students? Stay current on new and important food studies articles and books? Have an excuse to read something about food that’s not explicitly for your dissertation?

How to Join:

Sign up for this email list, or email us at

Sign up for the GAFS Reading Collective here:

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This won’t be your typical book club! #GAFSReadingCollective

Upcoming Sessions:

Session 5

Book: What She Ate by Laura Shapiro

We will be discussing the Introduction, and the chapters on Eva Braun, Barbara Pym, and Helen Gurley Brown.
You are welcome to read as much (or as little) as you like – just please come prepared to discuss the book!

Date|Time: May 13th, 2020 | 12pm PST / 3pm EST

Jessica Carbone is a PhD student in American History at Harvard University where she studies food content consumed in the public sphere (books, TV, and museums) that blurs the boundaries between education and entertainment. Jessica is also a GAFS co-president and managing editor of Gastronomica!

Omnivore Books.

Session 6

Book/Sections: TBA

Date|Time: June, 2020 | TBA EST/PST

Host(s): TBA

Previous Sessions:

Session 3

Gaddis, Jennifer E. 2019. The Labor of Lunch: Why We Need Real Food and Real Jobs in American Public Schools. Oakland, California: University of California Press.

Section: Introduction, Chapter 2, Chapter 4, and the Conclusion

Date|Time: March 11th, 2020 | 4:30 EST/ 1:30 PST

Host(s): Allison Hellenbrand.

About the Host: Allison Hellenbrand is a PhD student in Civil Society and Community Studies at the School of Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work examines and explores ways to build equity and resilience within food systems, organizing around reciprocity and solidarity. You can find Allison on Twitter at @AlliHellenbrand

Session 2

Book/Sections: Penniman, Leah. Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land. 2018. White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Our Host has a Discussion Guide for the book, which we encourage you to look at.

Date|Time: February 12th, 2020 | 1:30|4:30 PST/EST

Host(s): Vanessa García Polanco is a scholar-activist and graduate student at Michigan State University Department of Community Sustainability, where she focuses on community agriculture and food systems.

Session 1

Book/Sections: Reese, Ashanté M. Black Food Geographies: Race, Self-Reliance, and Food Access in Washington, D.C. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2019. Chapters One, Three, and Five.

Date|Time: January 8th, 2020 | 4pm EST/ 1pm PST

Host(s): Erica Zurawski. GAFS Co-President, Alanna K. Higgins, GAFS Board Member, and James Edward Malin, GAFS Board Member

Number of Attendees: 12

Questions and Answers

How will we meet?

On the second Wednesday of every month, the Reading Collective will host an online meeting. (The link will be distributed via email and located on this page.) Anyone in the collective is welcome to join on their personal computer, however we highly encourage joining the webinar as a group with any other nearby GAFS members!

This is certainly supposed to be social! We want you to get to know your fellow-gafs peers! Most of the time conversations will be less structured, and more free-flowing. Sessions will be cohosted by GAFS and a member interested in facilitating the conversation. Want to host one? See the “host a session” section below!

How are readings chosen?

We will probably tend to choose materials on the cutting edge. We might tend toward new works in food studies, that you might not have the occasion to check out otherwise. Know of something new and awesome you’d love to read alongside GAFS members? See the “suggest a reading” section below.

When will we meet?

The second Wednesday of every month.

Repeat: The second Wednesday of every month.

How do I get my hands on the book/article?

Our board’s librarian has made a helpful guide for freely getting your hands on new Food Studies scholarship! (Also viewable in PDF form here.)

Suggest A Reading

Fill out this form. We encourage graduate students to suggest a wide range of material, from books to articles and anything in between.

We also encourage graduate students to host meetings based on their suggestions.

Host a session

If you’d like to host a session, please contact Erica Zuraski, GAFS President:

Hosting includes suggesting sections to read, initiating the meeting, and preparing some sort of discussion content for the monthly meet-up. Additional information and support will, of course, be provided if you would like to host.