Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Renee V. Galliher


Renee V. Galliher


Melissa Tehee


Melanie M. Domenech Rodríguez


Nayeli Y. Chavez-Dueñas


Tyler Lefevor


Three different models are used in this study to understand how everyday food practices carry healing potential through the interwoven process of caring and knowledge-making. Daily food practices reflect a mixture of tradition and modernity— borne out of our roots and our contexts. Anzaldúa’s (1987) Borderland Theory helps us understand how this mixture is made by people who straddle two borders or worlds and contest those confines. Chavez-Dueñas et al.’s (2019) HEART model names strengthening our cultural and familial traditions and roots as part of the broader processes of building cultural consciousness and connection, and engaging in collective healing. Finally, Galliher et al.’s (2017) Integrated Identity Development maps our identities and deep interconnectedness with one another, observed in daily food behaviours like cooking, eating, and sharing. This study uses food photos and interviews of 14 Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) individuals, who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ+) from United States and Canada, to explore how they heal, learn, and make meaning of their food practices. Participants photographed food moments across two weeks, brought these photos during a semi-structured interview at four weeks, and responded to a follow-up after eight months.

Participants’ daily food moments reflected their personal, social, and cultural contexts. Individually, participants shared definitions of healing, and intentionality and gratitude as important wellness attitudes. They experienced caring and connection through social aspects of sharing and receiving food, particularly individualizing food to express care and connecting to a sense of togetherness. Participants connected to food on a cultural level by engaging with values such as resourcefulness and marking special occasions. Participants experienced food’s historical memory by connecting with ancestry, land, and the sacred, acknowledging oppression, and creating memories. Lastly, food is a landscape of contradictory notions of authenticity and hybridity, and an arena to develop new family traditions, given caregivers’ roles as knowledge keepers. Seven participants endorsed increased mindfulness around food practices and seven participants reported increased awareness and connection to their background, loved ones, and communities at the eight-month follow-up. Deepening our knowledges about our home and remaining flexible with tradition helps us keep intergenerational teachings.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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