The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian Beanie Illustration

New Perspectives
on Invention and Innovation

Food for Tomorrow

November 5-6, 2010
at the National Museum of American History


Side dishes

Presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and the National Museum of American History Food and Wine Group

Public programs at the Lemelson Center's 2010 New Perspectives on Invention and Innovation symposium explored the inventions and innovations that affect “Food for Tomorrow.”

Download the Food for Tomorrow symposium program »

For Starters: Movie Preview & Homegrown Mixology
Truck Farm! Movie Sneak Peek and Discussi
Friday, November 5 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Filmmakers Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, the Peabody Award-winning co-creators of King Corn, Big River, and The Greening of Southie, discussed their newest film and showed pre-release clips. Truck Farm! is the true story of urban farms taking root in America’s biggest city, from a self-sustaining Staten Island barge to a 6,000-square-foot market garden atop a Brooklyn roof. These and similar gardens are breathing new life into old cities.

After the movie, master mixologists concocted garden-fresh libations accompanied by local bites.

First Course: In the Field »
Producing Food for Tomorrow

Saturday, November 6 - 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

9 a.m. Bird-Friendly Coffee and Breakfast Bites

9:30 to 10 a.m. Keynote Address: An Introduction to the Future of Food, by Warren Belasco

10 a.m. to 12 noon In the Field: Producing Food for Tomorrow

Food Truck Muster & TwitterFest
Saturday, November 6 - 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.

An appetizing array of local food trucks arrived--announced through Twitter!--at the Constitution Avenue entrance of the National Museum of American History, with a wide range of flavorful fare available for purchase. Guests "tweeted" their favorites!

Second Course: In the Kitchen »
Preparing Food for Tomorrow

Saturday, November 6 - 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Third Course: At the Table »
Eating Meals Tomorrow

Saturday, November 6 - 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Wine Tasting: Innovative East Coast Winemakers
Saturday, November 6 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Dave McIntyre, Washington Post wine writer, led a conversation with some of the mid-Atlantic’s innovative winemakers and vineyard developers about how they are creating healthy vineyards and making award-winning wines in Long Island, Virginia, and Maryland. What are their critical strategies for choosing grape varietals that can thrive in the region’s challenging environment, especially its high humidity? To what extent are organic methods used, and how does creating a diverse ecosystem in a vineyard help make better wine? What are some of the new techniques being used by winemakers to produce wines that reflect the character of particular places? The event included a tasting of two wines from each of the following: Barbara Shinn of Shinn Vineyard (Long Island), Sarah O’Herron of Black Ankle (Maryland), Mike McGarry of Sugarloaf Mountain (Maryland), Jeff White of Glen Manor Vineyard (Virginia), and Rachel Martin of The Boxwood Winery (Virginia). Delicious foods were matched to the wines and continued conversation with the winemakers made for a memorable evening!

Public Programming
Saturday, November 6

Visitors participated in hands-on activities related to food and food technology. Visitors competed in the “Kitchen Gadget Showdown” to find out if a high-tech gadget worked better or faster than its low-tech predecessor; tasted test different salts, and shared their innovative kitchen techniques. Kids and families had fun with food science demos in Spark!Lab, and everyone enjoyed seeing food-related objects like from the NMAH collections.

11:00 - 11:30 Demos in Spark!Lab

11:00 - 2:00 Objects out of storage. 1 West

Noon - 12:30 Demos in Spark!Lab

Noon - 1:00 Salt tasting (cart). 1 West

1:00 - 1:30 Demos in Spark!Lab

1:30 - 2:30 Kitchen gadget showdown (cart). 1 West

2:00 - 2:30 Demos in Spark!Lab

3:00 - 3:30 Demos in Spark!Lab

3:00 - 4:00 Salt tasting (cart). 1 West

3:30 - 4:30 Kitchen gadget showdown (cart). 1 West

Ongoing activities:

Visitor feedback stations outside Spark!Lab and Carmichael Auditorium

  • How do you solve food/kitchen problems?
  • What’s the best snack you’ve invented?
  • How are you innovative in the kitchen?

Scavenger hunt

Spark!Lab self-directed activities (10:00-4:00)

  • Hydroponic gardening. Visitors started their own small hydroponic garden--just like NASA--using seeds, polyfil, plastic cup, and water, and learned about hydroponic farming as an innovative and efficient means of producing food.
  • Bubble making using kitchen supplies. It was a bit messy, but lots of fun.
  • Crazy Crystals. With the crystals from various salts, we showed how inventors have created novel ways to preserve and cook food...and explained why prepared foods contain so much salt.

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Last Update: 10 Apr 2012

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