Food is everywhere! We celebrate food to celebrate special occasions, traditions, milestones, life, and death. We use food to celebrate anything. In the US alone, we celebrate over 300 different food holidays every year! Any day is a special food day. There is no official source for “national” days for celebrating food. You can make up a day to celebrate your favorite foods! Why are they so many food celebration days around the world? Is it food policy or food marketing?
Scholars are good at some things, like research or teaching. But many scholars are not good at writing. I’ve peer-reviewed enough scholarly articles to recognize that writing is a challenge for anyone. Clear academic writing is hard to find – only if you look long and hard. So I’m adding another section to my academic writing series to address why scholars are poor writers. What happens when people don’t know that their writing is bad? How can scholars get a clue when they repeat bad writing habits?
Do you ever wonder about food labels that say “organic”? It’s interesting how food labels can deceive us in good and bad ways. I wrote my dissertation on urban agriculture and defined organic farming as growing food without pesticides or heavy equipment. Organic products have seeped into our choices in cleaning products, clothing and food. How do we know that our food is really organic? What does it mean when a label reads “organic” in quotes? Why is it so confusing to decide what is or is not organic?
A doctoral program is a test. It will test your patience, your will to succeed, and your self-confidence. It may be the hardest experience in your life. I won’t say your professional life because a doctoral program will take over your life. It will consume parts of your life you never thought about. And many things in this world can go wrong. An unexpected turn of events, an accident, or the one thing you overlooked in your planning process. What tools can help you pass the test? How can you recover when things go wrong? Can you plan to accommodate things that go wrong in your PhD program?
Continue reading “PhD Toolkit: When Things Go Wrong”
New Orleans is a city of survivors. Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005 and the city of New Orleans was changed forever. Forever. The city’s built infrastructures (transportation, buildings, hospitals) were destroyed. Another type of infrastructure also was destroyed: the city’s food system. This infrastructure includes a variety of processes:
- Food production
- Food processing
- Food distribution
- Food retail and marketing
- Capital (natural, human, social, economic)
How are people in New Orleans surviving in 2018? Although the city was hit by more floods and heavy rains last summer, the built environment is recovering. But the people are still struggling. What is the state of New Orleans’ food system? Did federal disaster recovery funding help the city? Why is the food-based infrastructure slow to recover?
Let’s face it – most people don’t like feedback. Somehow it feels like a chink in our armor and it’s a reminder that we’re not perfect. BTW, no one fits that mold. And if they do, I’d like to see them leap tall buildings in a single bound. It’s easy to talk about how to give feedback. But it’s a harder talk about how to receive feedback, good or bad.
Our first reaction to feedback can be anger, fear, frustration, tension, resistance, irrational thoughts, and feeling defensive. How can we shift our reaction to feedback? How can we respond to feedback we don’t want to hear? What are the benefits of feedback?
When I first thought about my dissertation, I floundered around for ideas on a research topic. I waffled between different ideas such as water conservation, animal-human relationships, transition town creation, social justice, and sustainability. Qualities of my study had to be:
- Something I was passionate about (passion is key because I’d be stuck working on one idea for many years running).
- Something relevant to the world (I didn’t want my research to sit on the shelf collecting dust in a dark corner of the library).
- Something that contributes to the existing knowledge (Yes, I wanted to add another spoke to the wheel of knowledge).
I discovered that urban food policy had all these qualities. But my real challenge was to answer the questions “So what? Who cares?”