WISO Abendkolloquium: Laura Prosperi (Milano): “Food Losses in the Past: Grain Wastage ‘from Field to Fork’ (Northern Italy, 17th–18th Centuries)”


Zeit: Dienstag, 22. Juni 2021, 18.00–19.30 Uhr

Moderation: Margareth Lanzinger

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This paper outlines a research project on food losses in modern times which explores reasons, magnitude and features of food wastage in the past. The research project is focused on northern Italy, although, whenever allowed, a comparative perspective will be adopted, providing insights into the European scenario. Essentially food loss remains distinct from ‘food waste’, since the former takes place at production, post-harvest and processing stages, whilst the latter occurs only at the end of the food chain. Focusing on well-documented and highly representative case-studies, this research project investigates the incidence of grain losses as a whole, its core features and its main consequences against the backdrop of pre-industrial Europe.
Accounting records combined with relevant scientific literature of the time cast a new light on grain losses occurring at storage and processing stages. By bringing new data on cereal preservation in a chemical-free setting, this study provides an original contribution to the current food wastage debate.