Research Abstract for selection in Elon's Student Undergraduate Research Forum
RETURNING TO MY ITALIAN ROOTS: FOOD AND TRAVEL WRITING AS CULTURAL RESEARCH
Morgan C. Ferretti (Professor Michael Strickland) Department of English
This past fall I had the opportunity to Study Abroad in Florence, Italy, source of my family’s heritage. While there I created a travel writing blog that allowed me to use writing as a main mode of inquiry for exploring the differences between American and Italian food culture. Through that experience I was able to explore the diversity between how the two cultures view the globalization of food production and how it has personally impacted me.
Creating the blog and being immersed in Italian culture allowed me to begin the preliminary research. After returning to campus I was able to do more in-depth research in cultural, scientific, and medical journals. I explore previous research that had been done on Italy’s historical and current push for a less globalized food market, and why local food is more beneficial globally and even medically. Research shows that Italy supports a much more localized food system by buying from local farmers, not outsourcing native products, and encouraging many businesses to become supporters of the Slow Food Movement. I then narrowed my research even further and examined olive oil production in Italy, compared to the United States, as an exemplary tool for exploring the different impacts of globalization.
The experiences that I had it Italy with food and culture, along with further research, allowed for me to write up my findings about how the globalization of food has proved to be the main cultural difference in my experience between Italy and the United States. The difference has made me acutely aware of what I eat and where I purchase it. I posted my findings on my public travel blog as well, to inform the previous readers of my blog of this difference, and to show the benefits of a less globalized food system.