E. Melanie DuPuis

Professor of Environmental Studies and Science at Pace University and author of Dangerous Digestion: The Politics of American Dietary Advice

E. Melanie DuPuis is Professor and Chair of Environmental Studies and Science, Pace University and Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz. She has a BA in Anthropology from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Development Sociology from Cornell University.

She is author of Nature’s Perfect Food: How Milk Became America’s Drink, co-author of Alternative Food Politics: Knowledge, Practice and Politics, with David and Mike Goodman, and editor of two edited collections: Smoke and Mirrors: The Politics and Culture of Air Pollution and Creating the Countryside: The Politics of Rural and Environmental Discourse. Her latest book, Dangerous Digestion: The Politics of American Dietary Advice, was published by UC Press in October of 2015. She is also co-author, with Matthew Garcia and Don Mitchell, of a forthcoming edited volume: Food Across Borders.

Dr. DuPuis has been involved in food policy issues and organizations since the 1980s, including food policy groups in Albany, New York and Santa Cruz, California. She was a founding member of the Sustainable Engineering and Ecological Design (SEED) Program at UCSC. Previous to her academic appointment, she worked as an Energy and Environment Policy Analyst for the New York State Department of Economic Development.

Nature’s Perfect Food: How Milk Became America’s Drink

In this book, DuPuis shows how milk as a beverage emerged through the development of a new, industrial food system. Large-scale consumption of fluid milk as a staple food became possible only with the development of a large-scale, rationalized system of production and distribution, an organizational form that became the model for the large-scale industrial food organizations of today. The rise of this system created different relationships between producers and consumers, moderated by the new industrial organizations. Yet, it was consumers who called this system into being, through infant feeding needs. The book chronicles the transformation regional dairy systems from primarily cheese and butter manufacturing to modern, industrial “milksheds” that fed cities. This transformation also transformed dairy farm systems, creating a new set of rural politics as farmers fought for access to high-priced fluid milk markets.

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