The Future of Protein Dinner

Additional course content

Course #1
The Industrial Revolution - The Year 1850

The choices Americans have made over the past two centuries regarding their food are defining today’s industrialized food system. While most changes have been integrated into our food habits piecemeal, we can identify historical ‘turning points’ that connect choices made in the past with what we eat today. The full manifestation of the Industrial Revolution - from the 1850s onward - is one such milestone.

food Culture

At the time of the Industrial Revolution, the American food system consisted primarily of family farms, with diets dependent on what could be easily grown within each local climate and ecosystem. Large plantations in the South began to produce cuisine of greater sophistication and protein dominance, incorporating pork and poultry raised by slaves along with dairy products. In contrast, the more primitive farms in the wilderness gathered most of their proteins from hunting and fishing.

protein production

 Most food was grown locally and organic,with very few - if any- chemical pesticides. Organic fertilizers was generated from animal manure or ashes. Agricultural methods adapted from Europe, such as systems of crop rotation, greatly improved both arable output and the effectiveness of animal husbandry.

Two innovations in the first part of the 1800s came to shake this local, minimally processed food system:

  • Evans’s Mill introduced for the first time principles of automation, efficiency and processing in food
  • The Erie Canal, as the first representative work on new transportation grids which would replace the habit of buying locally with the mandate for buying cheaply...

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