October 27, 2011

Main Panel:
The Lyric Theatre

Background Sessions:
Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown

Presented by the Department of Science and Technology in Society, Virginia Tech

Daniel Breslau, Saul Halfon,
Eileen Patzig

Research Associate:
Sally Morgan

Sponsors (Virginia Tech):
The Department of Science and Technology in Society

The Department of Religion and Culture

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences

Office of the President

Outreach and International Affairs

Office of the Provost



A day-long program of interactive sessions, expert panels, and discussions on the complexities of our food choices in light of nutrition, environmental sustainability, economic well-being and social justice.

The 2011 Choices and Challenges program brings together a range of scholars, policymakers, and citizens to discuss the varied and sometimes conflicting dimensions of what makes food good and how our society chooses what food to produce, buy, and eat.

Good food can be assessed from a number of perspectives. Nutritionally, good food is that which sustains us and keeps us healthy. Ecologically, good food is that which is sustainable and allows us to optimally coexist with the world around us. Economically, good food is that which we can afford, but also supports our communities and the communities of those who produce it. Culturally, good food is that which brings us pleasure, fits with our understandings of ourselves, and connects us to our past or our desired futures. Each approach has both local and global dimensions. Each time we eat, we choose food that we understand to be good or bad on each of these levels, and we balance them, or ignore them, as we make each choice.

The Choices and Challenges project was established in 1985. The twenty-eight forums produced thus far have provided a public space for discussion and engagement on issues of science and technology that are of pressing public concern. Our goal is to birng together a broad range of scientific, technical, humanistic, and social science experts with the general public to discuss the broadest implications of current science and technology. Click here to learn about past Choices and Challenges forums.