I teach a class called ‘Decolonize Your Diet,’ and I talk about the Spaniards arriving in Mesoamerica. One of the first things they tried to change—in addition to religion— was the way people ate. They introduced wheat and tried to make eating bread something that was seen as more valuable than eating corn. They outlawed amaranth, and in South America they outlawed quinoa.
I tell my students to think about how the dominant powers are invested in controlling what their subjects eat, and then to take that concept from the 1500s to our contemporary era and ask themselves, ‘What are the powers that be wanting us to eat right now? Where are all the food subsidies going? How is that influencing what we’re eating? Who’s benefiting and who’s suffering because of that?’ For students, drawing those connections is really powerful, and it gives them a tangible way to analyze relations of power.