Town TalkGAMBIER, Ohio (February 3, 2011)
A series of community conversations at Kenyon will explore Knox County from field and stream to Main Street, from past to future.
The program, called Visits, begins on February 10 and includes three talks in coming months aimed at exploring the bounty, character and diversity of life in Knox County. The events are organized by Howard Sacks, professor of sociology, director of the Kenyon Rural Life Center, and a sheep farmer.
The idea of Visits is to spark interest in learning more about Knox County, including its history, ongoing challenges, and groundwork for the future. "Everyone is welcome," Sacks said. "An underlying goal of this is to provide an opportunity to bring Kenyon and the broader Knox County community together for conversations on subjects of mutual interest. There's a lot to talk about."
The opening conversation is called "Wild in the Kitchen" and is set for Thursday, February 10, at 11:10 a.m. in the Peirce Hall Lounge. The dialogue will center on the wild side of local foods and the culture of hunters, trappers and fishermen. The chat will be led by David Suggs, Kenyon professor of anthropology and a fisherman, with Mike Miller, state wildlife officer assigned to Knox County; longtime trapper Paul Hotham; and Jay Laymon, a hunter who also specializes in the harvest of wild mushrooms.
The opening session springs naturally from the emphasis on local foods that has been the hallmark of the Rural Life Center. "We've raised consciousness in the community about where your food comes from," Sacks said. "Hopefully this will encourage people when they hear about hunting season or about mushroom hunting or fishing. If they get an invitation, they might be a little more inclined to take it up. There's a knowledge base here that people aren't aware of."
Also scheduled are "Reimagining Main Street," on Tuesday, March 29, at 11:10 a.m., and "Jewish Knox County," on Thursday, April 21, at 11:10 a.m. - both in the Peirce Hall Lounge.
"How can we re-imagine a new function for the historic downtown? It is trying to reinvent itself, and there are some interesting things happening," Sacks said. The major downtown fire last year brings new attention to the vitality of the area, which has been strengthened by redevelopment for education and cultural activities.
The third in the Visits series will focus on the Jewish community and the research of Kenyon student Jazz Glastra of Stanwood, Wash. Jewish roots in the county extend to before the Civil War and the community peaked in the 1950s. "This has always been a place where people of diverse backgrounds and experiences have come and contributed to the life of the community," Sacks noted.