National Food Museum™
Exploring Food in All Its Dimensions
History • Culture • Nutrition • Climate Change/Environment • Social Justice • Animal Welfare
To celebrate and explore the transformative power of food to nourish people and our planet.
A world where food and how it is grown contributes to healthy people, a sustainable planet, and a more vibrant culture.
Agriculture's effects on the environment
America’s farmers are the most productive in the world, but that prodigious output comes at a cost: water pollution, depletion of groundwater, soil erosion, wildlife loss, and massive use of energy that contributes to climate change. The challenge is to maximize agriculture’s benefits and minimize its costs.
Six people who changed how we eat - for better or worse
Our diets have been dramatically altered by entrepreneurs like McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc and Campbell Soup’s founder Joseph Campbell. But new technologies like refrigerated rail cars and microwave ovens, books like Frances Moore Lappé’s Diet for a Small Planet, and chefs like Alice Waters in Berkeley, have also influenced what we eat.
Typical diets: American, Asian, African, Latin American
Immigrants have brought with them cuisines and restaurants, from Afghani to Zimbabwean, that delight our taste buds and enrich our lives.
How food can enhance - or undermine - health
America’s abundance of nutrient-rich food has eliminated scurvy, beri-beri, and other deficiency diseases. But ubiquitous, delicious, high-calorie foods, often loaded with added sugars and salt, have contributed to heart disease, high blood pressure, and soaring rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Animal agriculture has become industrialized
Small family farms with modest numbers of pigs and chickens running around barnyards are all but extinct. Hogs, cattle, and poultry are now raised primarily in huge feedlots and other facilities that minimize costs, except the costs of inhumane confinement, antibiotic resistance, and environmental pollution
The human diet has changed radically over the past 10,000 years
For millennia, humans kept hunger at bay by hunting land and sea animals and gathering berries and other plant foods. A few communities around the world still eat that way. But more and more people eat diets comprised largely of highly processed packaged foods. At the time of the American Revolution, foods were primarily natural and farms were organic. But diets based largely on whole foods have given way to convenient packaged foods and restaurant meals.
What people are saying
Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
Ways to get involved
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Your early financial support will help launch the museum!