I am incredibly pleased to announce that Edible Geography is poised to make its first foray into the physical world, by co-organising Foodprint NYC, which is itself the first in a series of international conversations about food and the city.

The event will take place one month from today, on Saturday, February 27, from 1 to 5:30 p.m., and is kindly being hosted by Columbia University’s downtown Studio-X space. Excitingly, that means as well as being free and open to the New York-based public, it will also be available to the rest of the world as a audio and video download through Columbia’s iTunes U Channel.

IMAGE: (left) Milk wagon and old houses, Grove St., Manhattan, Berenice Abbott, courtesy NYPL; (right) Food cart in Flushing, Queens, via.

I’m especially thrilled to be collaborating with good friend and long-time food, culture, architecture, and sustainability writer, Sarah Rich. Our idea for Foodprint NYC came from a shared curiosity in feeding the city: how our urban food systems work today, how historical forces have shaped them till now, how they might develop in the future – and how these food systems, in turn, have shaped our environment and ourselves.

IMAGE: A Gastronomical Map of Manhattan, via.

The free afternoon program will consist of four panel discussions: “Zoning Diet,” about the hidden corsetry of policy, access, and economics that gives shape to urban food distribution; “Culinary Cartography,” a look at the kinds of things we can learn about New York City when we map its food types and behaviours; “Edible Archaeology,” about the socio-economic forces, technical innovations, and events that have shaped New York food history, in the context of the present; and “Feast, Famine, and Other Scenarios,” an opportunity to collaboratively speculate on changes to the edible landscape of New York in both the near and distant future.

In other words, the afternoon’s discussions might range from cluster analysis of bodega inventories to the cultural impact of the ice-box, from urban food deserts to peak phosphorus, and from an analysis of fried chicken’s ubiquity to the functional foods of the future.

IMAGE: (left) From Mapping Food Partnerships, a project of panelist Tom Forster, (right) Phillips Design Food Concepts, via.

Sarah and I are hoping to create a genuinely lively, surprising, and inspiring set of conversations by making sure each panel includes a range of voices, including designers, policy-makers, flavour scientists, culinary historians, architects, anthropologists, health professionals, and food producers and retailers.

I’ll be posting the panelists along with more details nearer the time, but for now, if you’re in NYC or can get here for the afternoon, please save the date: it should be a fun, casual, and – judging by the panelists we’ve already confirmed – incredibly interesting few hours, and I’d love to see you there! Meanwhile, please feel free to leave suggestions, questions, and ideas in the comments, or email me directly.