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“Food for Thought” Talk Examines Latino Impact on Food Culture and Agriculture

Photo Courtesy of Peter Marin

Many Latin foods are consumed in the United States today, including salsa, tacos and enchiladas. Most people don’t think about how they came to be here, or how more familiar foods such as corn, brussel sprouts or sweet potatoes get to the table. 

In recognition of Latino Heritage Month, artist, educator, food specialist and trained chef Peter Marin will speak on “Food for Thought,” Thursday, Sept. 28, 12:30 p.m., at the Archives and History/State Library Building, 109 E. Jones St., Raleigh. The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources EEO Diversity and Inclusion Committee is sponsoring the free event.

As the availability of Latin foods increases, so does the necessity of Latino immigrants in maintaining the American food system. Marin will examine the role of these immigrants, documented and undocumented, in that system. A photographic installation curated by Marin, “Food for Thought: Immigration and Dining in North Carolina,” will be on view at the North Carolina Department of Administration Building Sept. 15- Oct. 13, by invitation from the Office of the Governor.

“I combine my interest in maintaining a connection with the Mexican traditions and applying it to contemporary food practices,” Marin explains. “These can be cultivation practices, preparations, spirits and contemporary use of Mexican foods.”

About nine percent of North Carolina’s population is currently Latino, as hundreds of thousands have fled war, violence or extreme poverty. Latino foods have become more ubiquitous, from the commonly known carnitas and taquitos to the use of agave sugars and less well-known pseudograins of chia and amaranth. While Americans have embraced these foods, they may not realize that Latinos comprise more than half of agricultural workers in the U.S. and are integral to the food industry.

“Food for Thought” examines these trends and shows images from the photographic exhibition. Most of the 35 images are of people, but some are of crops. Interviews of the workers, both candid and eye opening, are part of the exhibit.

The exhibit includes photographs by Marin and Peter Eversoll, with assistance from ethnobotanist Jillian De Gezelle. The exhibit was made possible in part with help from the City of Raleigh Museum and the Mexican Consulate.

Peter Marin was born and raised in Mexico City and has lived in New York City, Madrid, Oakland and San Francisco. He has been in North Carolina since 2014. He received a B.A from the University of California-Berkley and MFA from Hunter College. He has worked with Michelin starred chefs Daniel Patterson and Michael Mina, and has 15 years of formal food experience in professional kitchens.

For additional information please call (919) 807-7389 or email The NCDNCR EEO Committee for Diversity and Inclusion is within the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

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