How fresh is your food?

The word ÒfreshÓ may have a skewed message when it comes to what we eat.

An audience gathered in the Fleming Museum March 19 for the presentation of ÒFresh Food: An Unnatural History of FreshnessÓ with Susanne Freidberg.

Freidberg is a professor and chair of the geology department at UMass Dartmouth and an author of several books.

She focused her hour-long talk to the UVM community on the changes to the idea of freshness in our society. Namely, how the introduction of refrigeration influenced a society that has come to expect freshness.

ÒI never really thought about how that changed our perception of freshness,Ó first-year Lindsey Freitag said.

Freidberg showed her knowledge on the subject and her sense of humor while exploring the initial resistance to technology, such as refrigeration, and its role in the beef and dairy industries.

ÒThere is nothing wrong with seeking out freshness but donÕt over romanticize it,Ó she said.

The Fleming Museum is also currently showing an exhibit titled, ÒEat: The Social Life of Food.Ó In this exhibit, the relationship between humans and food is explored through different cultures.

Offering majors and minors in food sciences, nutrition, dietetics and food systems, UVM is no stranger to the topic of food.

The real food working group, composed of both UVM faculty and students, is also embracing the idea of freshness.

In 2012 the group took on the ÒReal Food Challenge,Ó senior Ani Quigley said.

ÒThe Real Food Challenge is a national organization that supports students in getting their universities to purchase more ÒrealÓ food: food that is sustainable, local, fair trade and humane,Ó Quigley said.

The goal: shift 20 percent of the UniversityÕs food dollars to Òreal food.Ó

This non-Sodexo initiative involves keeping track of all the food the University purchases and using a tool called the Real Food Calculator.

ÒBased on the criteria of what is real, we can track whether something counts as real and tally this information to find out our total percentages,Ó Quigley said.