Food in Transition
The Tufts Food Lab is a concept, research lab, classroom, mobile teaching kitchen, and meeting place. Our interdisciplinary approach combines nutrition science, regenerative agriculture, social history, and the culinary arts to identify and address the barriers that prevent people from enjoying optimal health. Currently we are exploring traditions of the shared table, compiling a guide to whole grains and fresh whole grain flours, and developing the Harlem Lacrosse Nutrition Project to educate young athletes about the delicious benefits of healthful eating.
How We Work
We start with flavor. Knowing how to prepare delicious food provides powerful opportunities to translate cutting-edge nutrition and regenerative agriculture into real-world impact. We engage with people whose work advances the ways we research, grow, and cook our foods. We look for bold visions inside and outside academia and for fresh ways to translate appetites into nourishing eating habits. Our investigations take us into fields and kitchens, classrooms and food banks, local communities, and national partnerships.
To apply the strongest resolve to addressing food system challenges, the Tufts Food Lab collaborates on projects and research with entrepreneurs, innovators, scientists, chefs, bakers, farmers, millers, public agencies, activists, and other universities. By seeking diversity in our partnerships, Food Lab graduate students are prepared to invigorate food visions, impact food culture, and catalyze solutions to the world’s ever-shifting food issues and barriers.
Why Include Baking and Cooking?
For many people, what we eat and how we prepare it is passed down through family generations around a shared table. This is where nutrition, nature, agriculture, flavor, family, and community come together and where we ask the difficult question: who is missing from the proverbial table? We’re acting as honest brokers, fostering trust, making connections, literally sitting at the table together and inviting a diversity of guests to educate us.
The Grain Revolution
Currently, the Food Lab is researching one of the world’s most important staples, whole grains, and the fresh flours and products derived from them. Our concentration initially is on the New England grain economy and the evolving collaboration among stakeholders to expand access to information and techniques that successfully substitute fresh whole grain flour for white flour.
The Grain Guide
The Allen Family Foundation awarded a generous two-year grant to the Tufts Food Lab to research and develop The New England Grain Guide, a compilation of grain information that incorporates traditional and cultural knowledge, cutting-edge nutrition science, and the web of interconnectivity that creates an ongoing circle from soil to table.
Topics span the viability of regional grain economies, the impact of history and culture on cultivation and consumption, the collaborative opportunities among regional, national, and global scales of grain-related enterprises, and the under-utilized diversity of delicious flavors embedded within the thousands of varieties of wheat and other grains grown in almost every soil and climate.
By exploring the intersection between regenerative agriculture, nutrition science, and gastronomy, the Tufts Food Lab generates new science, educates creative and resourceful leaders, supports local and regional agriculture, and improves human, animal, and ecological well-being.