First Presidential Message - SALALM 65



University of California-Davis

Sacramento, California

Dates: Friday June 5-Monday June 8, 2020

Conference Title:

Buen provecho:  Celebrating and Exploring the Richness of Latin American, Caribbean and Latinx Food and Drink

Conference Summary:

SALALM 2020 will explore all aspects of the production, distribution, consumption, and description of foods and beverages cultivated and created in Latin America or in other countries/regions with the involvement of LatinX workers and distributors.  Given the prominence of the wine industry and related programs of study at the conference site, special emphasis will be on the alcohol industries.  Food and beverages shape identities and hold important cultural meaning for individuals and communities, including friends and families, regional and national communities, (im)migrants, nations and global trade networks.  The production, distribution, sale, and consumption of food and beverages reveal varied socioeconomic systems and are usually influenced and regulated by government administrators at various levels.  Vast differences exist in access to food in general, and particularly to healthy and nourishing food, as well as to quality fermented foods and beverages.

Topics of discussion for panels and individual presentations may include, but shall not be limited to:

  • The structural and sociocultural causes of differential access to food and beverages;
  • The ways in which socioeconomic and political systems determine and are shaped by agricultural production and the processing/creation of consumable food and beverage products;
  • The role of food and beverages in shaping particular cultures and collective identities;    
  • Workers' experiences growing and harvesting agricultural yields; producing commercial food and beverage products; and marketing, selling and distributing such products;
  • Capturing, recording and archiving agricultural labor and the production, distribution, consumption and sale of food and beverage;
  • The history and changes over time of the production of food and beverages and the restaurant and beer, wine and liquor industries;
  • Library and archival collections focused on food and beverages;
  • The practice(s) of librarianship and archiving related to food and beverages.

The University of California, Davis will host the 2020 SALALM conference, drawing on venues at UC Davis and in nearby Sacramento. 

The hotel we have selected for the conference is the Embassy Suites by Hilton Sacramento Riverfront Promenade, located on the Sacramento River and very close to Old Sacramento, with a number of excellent restaurants and historical and recreational sites nearby.   The hotel rates are comparable to recent SALALM conference hotels, at $185/night (plus the following taxes: 12% occupancy, 3% tourism, and .45 cents CA tourism Assessment fee).  However, these are not just your average single hotel rooms: every guest area is a two-room suite composed of a bedroom with two queens or one king and a living room with a pull-out sofa bed, separated by a common bathroom, making these accommodations more conducive to sharing than most hotels.  Two people can share for the same price; up to 4 people can occupy a room, with a $25 charge for every third and fourth person.  In addition, this rate includes free shuttle service to and from the airport (a savings of approximately $30), a free made-to-order breakfast with, for example, an egg and omelet station (a savings of approximately $15), free WIFI throughout the hotel, and a daily afternoon happy hour from 5:30-7:30 pm with complimentary cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.  The hotel also includes two on-site restaurants and a pool and gym.   In addition there is sufficient meeting space for our needs. 

UC Davis is an ideal host for this conference, as it has a number of high-ranking and unique cross-disciplinary programs in enology, viticulture and agriculture.  Its enology program is one of the best in the world, recognized on par with programs in Geisenheim, Germany and Burgundy, Bordeaux and Montpellier, France.  UC Davis is also the home of The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, which houses the Departments of “Viticulture and Enology” and “Food, Science and Technology,” a Brewery, a Tomato Industry Pilot Plant, a Milk Processing Lab, and the “Olive Center,” “Honey and Pollination Center,” and “Center for Wine Economics.”  All of these entities experiment with and incorporate green technology maximizing local sustainable environmental capabilities and actively monitor and display water, energy, carbon and chemistry footprints in real time.

UC Davis has its own teaching and research wine fields, winery, and wine tasting program, as well as a Wine Librarian at Shields Library who oversees extensive viticulture and enology collections.  Because of its proximity to the renowned U.S. wine regions of Napa and Sonoma Valleys, UC Davis also develops industry relationships and offers its students the opportunity to connect with winemakers and  vineyard managers, many of whom are LatinX and especially Mexicans whose families have worked in the wine industry for generations.

UC Davis's Programs in Agriculture and Forestry (both part of the College in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences) rank first in the United States and second internationally.  The College includes related curricular programs such as “Food and Fermentation,” “Agricultural Economics” and “Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems.”  Special Collections librarians at Shields Library also actively collect archival materials related to the Northern California Food Movement, which has been instrumental in the rise of organic gardening and “farm to table” food preparation and consumption.  UC Davis also has unique applications of the ten-campus University of California's “Global Food Initiative,” launched in 2014 to support food security, health, and sustainability in California.  At UC Davis, two manifestations of this are:

1. “Aggie Compass,” a program where students can enroll in CalFresh (CA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), get free produce from the campus's Student Farm and local grocery stores, access a food pantry, and receive nutrition consultations with interns from the campus Fitness and Wellness center


2. An Interdisciplinary Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Major focuses on the social, economic and environmental aspects of agriculture and the food cycle from farm to table and beyond, preparing students for careers as agriculturalists, entrepreneurs and researchers.

Additional departments and programs of relevance who constitute potential collaborators include The Global Engagement Division of The College of Agricultural and Environmental Science; The World Food Center; and Latin American & Hemispheric Studies, which offers a course in Native Foods and Farming of the Americas. 

We plan to spend the first day of the conference, Friday June 5, at UC Davis, with the keynote address and host reception and the opportunity to tour the various labs and centers indicated above.  Thus, I highly encourage arrival on Thursday, June 4.

We look forward to sharing these resources with you and to your participation at SALALM 65!

Sarah Buck-Kachaluba, SALALM President 2019-2020

University of California, San Diego

Roberto Delgadillo, Chair of Local Arrangements SALALM LXV

University of California, Davis       

Photo credit: Marley WH Flickr