Lab and Lunch: The Edible Bay

A History of Our Relationship with Local Foods

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 • Noon–1:00 p.m.

Exploratorium, Pier 15, Bay Observatory

Free, RSVP required for lunch. (Email reserve@exploratorium.edu, or call 415.528.4444, and choose option 5.)

Join historian Matthew Booker for an exploration of why twentieth-century Americans lost faith in local food.

San Francisco Bay in the late 1800s nurtured an abundance of food sources for the entire region. Beef cattle grazed in salt marshes, people gathered duck eggs along Bay shores, and commercial fisheries harvested salmon, shrimp, crabs, and oysters. But all this began to change in the early twentieth century.

Using the Bay’s oyster fishery as a case study, Booker will discuss why people turned away from locally produced foods, and how this has shaped our understanding of the Bay. “If we forget the Bay was once an edible commons, we have a much more impoverished view of what the Bay might become,” Booker says.

Matthew Booker is a historian and author of Down By the Bay: San Francisco History Between the Tides, which traces the evolution of people who have lived along the Bay, and the ongoing role of nature in shaping history. Booker is an associate professor of history at North Carolina State University and is the Bay Observatory’s 2014 Urban Fellow.

The Lab and Lunch series is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.