Tove Danovich’s writings about food mention habits well beyond the table. Food fuels economies and policy choices; it builds family fortunes and can offer health – and even happiness – to all life forms.
To address food’s wide impact, Danovich has launched Food Politic: Journal of Food News and Culture. But this is not the first journalism endeavor in her resume. Before graduating from Lang in 2011, Danovich majored in literature, interned at Simon and Schuster and wrote for the Free Press.
Danovich recently sat down with a reporter from her old publication to discuss her new site and The New School’s role in her budding career.
What inspired you to write about food?
Tove: I started writing after taking Scott Korb’s food-based writing class, one of the freshman writing seminars. I was not expecting to get a lot out of it at the time, but it ended up being really great. We just did a lot of different things with food, research… We were reading a lot about it. Something about how place, history, politics, food come together I found fascinating. I just kept going with it after that.
The book you’re currently writing examines food movements as a negative reaction to factory farming, would you tell me what inspired you to write it, and what the experience has been like for you?
Tove: About a year ago, I became interested in the sustainable, humane meat movement. At the time I was living with three good friends from high school – two vegetarians and one vegan. I started reading about the history of vegetarianism. Despite the fact that vegetarians and humane meat people are at opposite ends of the scale, they both dislike the way the meat industry operates.
How can everyday people take action for food justice?
Tove: It’s a lot easier to do something like be vegetarian or eat only local or these elimination diets, but eating well and sustainably is different. There is so much to take into consideration, and it becomes overwhelming, because things aren’t always how they seem. The easiest way to make a difference is to focus on one thing, whether it’s animal welfare or cutting down on environmental impact. Don’t try to do everything.
Given the name of your site, Food Politic, do you consider yourself a political person?
Tove: I’m not sure I would say I’m political in an activist kind of way. I would rather expose people to information they need for both sides of an argument, to better make decisions.
Is it the journalist’s job to raise these issues?
Tove: I don’t know if it’s the journalist’s job. I do think it’s the journalist’s job to tell stories that no one else has said before. It’s good to raise awareness about things happening, but don’t try to convince people to think what you think.
How has TNS prepared you for life after university?
Tove: One of the best way The New School prepares you for life is – I never felt I was in a university when I was there. I was simply starting my life. I was working, paying my bills on time, and people expected me to come to class and do homework when I was done. In some ways, that made real-life transition easy. I was pushed in the direction to learn and continue doing.
Which professor impacted your life the most?
Tove: Definitely, Scott Korb. When I started working on this journal, I emailed him about it. Then he talked to students in his classes, because he’s teaching something similar. Because of that, my very first intern – who I’m calling an editorial assistant, because I hate the word intern – came from his class. He’s one of those teachers who have a real interest in what his students do. He can tailor a subject to them, instead of teaching the same thing all the time.