Trust matters. As we study what makes our food system work, we find that enduring human relationships are the sinews that flex when the system is disrupted. Social media may be our new tool for building relationships, but speed may not replace our old, slow method of building trust. Transactions based on trust make the food world go 'round. Food producers, processors, and distributors depend upon relationships built over time that result in trusted transactions and confidence in credit, quality, Read more [...]

What I Should Have Said at TED

Many of us wish for an opportunity to share our latest projects, especially if we’re crazy-passionate about it. Speaking at a TED conference is one of those opportunities. Recently, I had the privilege of speaking at the TEDx Austin event.  As a speaker, I was witness to the miracle of a TEDx event, a day-long immersion into the inspiring and motivating lives of the speakers and attendees. My talk came at the end of the day, and although I prepared for this talk more than I had ever prepared Read more [...]

Game Day

University of Texas: 33 Iowa State University 7 Fans 3   I take pity on anyone who asks me to join them for a meal. It’s nearly impossible for me to suspend my intense occupation with food and sometimes, which must at times be almost unbearable, if not embarrassing.  My hosts at this weekend’s football game put up with my challenge to find healthy food at the stadium. At University of Texas at Austin Darrel K. Royal Stadium that weekend, the Longhorn football team emerged the victor Read more [...]

Michael Pollan at Austin’s Paramount Theater

Michael Pollan recently spoke to a packed house here in Austin, Texas. The audience included members of “The Food Movement,” as Pollan called them, as well as his many loyal readers. His message was simple, direct, and eloquent. Eat simply, know where your food comes from and ….. beware of capitalism. Six years ago, I attended a talk by Mr. Pollan in a small Cambridge, MA bookstore when his now award-winning book came out, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The audience was about a tenth of the size Read more [...]


In.gredients, a new Austin food startup, promises to change the way we shop for food. When the company’s founders announced its plan to eliminate wasteful packaging, foodies and the media celebrated the merits of the new enterprise, hopeful that in.gredients customers would arrive at the new store with reusable and recycled bags and containers. The founders announced they would provide package-free food that would begin the march towards a zero-waste food system. Major media outlets such as The Read more [...]

Cooks from Farm to Table in Austin

Texas peaches will soon disappear from the Hill Country roadside stands, removing star performers on local restaurant menus such as Peach Melba. Named after an Australian opera singer, Peach Melba was the invention of Auguste Escoffier, a nineteenth century entrepreneur who introduced the ice cream and peach dessert to the Paris Ritz. Demonstrating his creative culinary imagination, he convinced farmers in the Rhone Valley to grow thin-stalked, green asparagus for the British who paled at the white, Read more [...]

The Food Lab Office Hours Fall 2012

Brown Bag Lunch Office Hours   Got an idea for a food business? Come to office hours and join us for a brown bag lunch! Great way to meet other food entrepreneurs. Every Tuesday, Noon - 1pm Room 3.112, Sutton Hall Contact: Professor Metcalfe Read more [...]

The University of Texas at Austin’s New Food Lab

The Food Lab (TFL) is based in the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) of the School of Architecture (SOA) of the University of Texas at Austin (UT). The Food Lab provides undergraduate awareness of food issues, encourages and motivates students to engage with innovative food systems research, and provides support to startups that leverage University research. The Lab is a catalyst for scientific and cultural experimentation and innovation in the food system. We encourage the research community Read more [...]

Austin’s New Sipping Chocolatier

Austin is bursting with enthusiasm for food. Even better, our city fosters innovative startups that add to the richness and experience of the food scene. Foodies, food trucks, and fans of food in general have thrived and grown over the last twenty years, driven by the mix of musicians, college students, and artists seeking cheap and delicious food. Thus the food truck phenomena hit Austin first, giving our city a reputation for being a scrappy player in the food scene. The recent surge of interest Read more [...]

Seaweed Scientist

Lew Weil, a molecular biologist, grows seaweed for his company, Austin Sea Veggies. In his garage, Lew grows ogo, edible seaweed that looks a little like material for a gelatinous bird’s nest.  Where else but Austin, Texas, hundreds of miles away from any coastline, would you find a scientist hunched over an aquarium full of seaweed. Yes, Austin is weird. But beware of weird. More often than not, an Austinian’s weirdness leads to innovation and an audacious capacity for leapfrogging the rest Read more [...]