Food for ThoughtGAMBIER, Ohio (June 18, 2004) Where does my food come from? With current concerns about health and nutrition, not to mention scientific controversies and worries about the future of family farms, this question is more important than ever. And in a global marketplace, it's not an easy question to answer.
But thanks to Food for Thought, an initiative spearheaded by Kenyon's Rural Life Center, students here can answer with confidence: food comes from the fields and hills of Knox County, Ohio. Through a unique collaboration between the College and area farmers, Kenyon's dining halls feature the rich variety of fresh foods produced in the surrounding area.
Food for Thought involves a great deal more than just good eating. Working closely with faculty members, Kenyon students are learning about the nation's food system and sharing what they learn through exhibits and other campus programs. How is food produced and marketed? How are political, corporate, and consumer trends affecting rural communities? How are family farmers handling the pressures on their way of life? What do personal food choices mean for both individuals and their surroundings? Students are exploring these questions by interning with local organic farmers, interviewing farm families, visiting nearby food processors, and attending the meetings of farm organizations.
Their work often results in public projects, ranging from a radio series to a Web-based school curriculum on farming and community life. Students' articles and documentary photographs have appeared in publications as far away as China and have received awards from the Ohio Academy of History, the Rural Sociological Society, and the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Food for Thought is helping to build a local food system, sustain family farms, support community institutions, and preserve the rural character of Knox County. It's also helping students experience life and traditions in the community, create new knowledge for public good, and learn the value of connecting to a place.