The Rural Cause at Kenyon is a student-led, campus-wide initiative that seeks to strengthen the College’s ties to its location in rural, central Ohio. Through education, support and action, the Rural Cause aims to improve community relations and raise awareness of the rural reality in Knox County and across the United States. Founded in 2018, the Rural Cause receives funding through Kenyon's Office for Community Partnerships as of 2021.
Learn more about the Rural Cause on their website.
Local Foods and Aging explores the senior dining community through hands-on, in-the-kitchen and field research conducted by Senior Certified Executive Chef Paul Higgins with the help of Kenyon students. In the series "A Journey in Taste," Chef Paul attempts to understand and define the dining habits of our aging population who develop new preferences for food preparation.
With Chef Paul's guidance, and in partnership with OSU Extension, the Knox County Task Force for Older Adults has developed the "Seniors Eat Fresh, Eat Local" program to make fresh, local produce more accessible to area seniors through farmers market vouchers.
Learn more at Get Fresh With Chef Paul.
"Life Along the Kokosing" explores the county’s past and present by visiting a variety of sites that, taken together, capture the area’s natural, economic, social and cultural capital. It began as a project conducted as part of a course at Kenyon under the direction of Professor Howard Sacks and lives on as a class that continues to be taught at Kenyon.
In the initial project, students selected and studied particular locations important to local life, drawing on interviews, field research, historical materials and photography to tell their stories. "Life Along the Kokosing" aims to contribute to understanding and appreciation of Knox County’s character and the issues facing the local community.
Learn more at lifealongthekokosing.wordpress.com.
"The Place to Be" was the project of a sociology seminar conducted in 2011–2012. It explores the importance of public life in forging diverse community bonds through examining the changing spaces and roles public life has occupied through the years. The project was directed by Professor Howard Sacks and conducted by Kenyon students.
Learn more at theplacetobeknoxcounty.wordpress.com.
Rural by Design offers a blueprint for academic inquiry into the cultural, social and environmental conditions that affect rural communities at home and abroad, and public projects to enhance local rural sustainability. This initiative combined student research, experiential opportunities and community outreach to connect college and community life.
The various activities comprising Rural by Design centered on three interrelated, thematic programs that are essential to rural sustainability: generating economic innovation, strengthening social networks and linking the local and global environments.
Learn more at rlcruralbydesign.wordpress.com.
Kenyon leads the nation in farm-to-college programs. This initiative was created with the hope of fostering a sustainable agricultural community in Knox County and preserving the rural way of life, and continues to enable the college to provide higher quality food for students while keeping costs low. Kenyon’s case study of a successful farm-to-college program offers insight for other institutions that are trying to begin or expand their local food programs.
Learn more at farmtocollege.wordpress.com.
Food for Thought was an initiative to build a sustainable local market for foods produced in and around Knox County. Directed by the Rural Life Center at Kenyon College, this collaborative effort developed a countywide food system to enable area farmers to market their products to individual consumers and institutional buyers including schools, hospitals, restaurants, grocery stores, and caterers.
Food for Thought continues to influence state agricultural policy and serves as a national model of effective college-community collaboration.
Learn more at fft.kenyon.edu.
Watch a video about sustainable agriculture and experiential learning at a local farm.
Project partners include the Knox County Local Food Council.