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The Center for Food in Community and Culture

Potato Patch Art Project

Below are snapshots of Chris Style’s potato print project, created from potatoes grown in the potato patch planted by Larry Smith outside of the University Union East Entrance. For a more complete picture of the project, you can check out Chris’ slide show.

Students in Style’s Intro., Intermediate, and Adv. Printmaking courses took part in a potato print workshop. Potatoes were harvested, cut using various tools, rolled up with ink, and stamped onto cotton towels, pillow shams, and paper. Besides printing from the carved potatoes, they also printed the potato plant and roots, by rolling it up in ink and putting it through the printing press. The potato prints on paper will be scanned and used by Style in the Potato Project Zine. Potatoes are inspiration as well as sustenance.

The entire potato patch will be harvested on October 24 at 1:00. Larry Smith and Chris Style are working with the University Union kitchen staff to cook up potato soup to share with the campus community.

Potato Patch photo collage by Christine Style

Potato Patch Art Project Begins with Planting

University of Wisconsin – Green Bay Potato Patch Art Project 2008

C. Style and L. Smith Location: Outside UWGB Student Union near Little Campus Store window. This project originated as collaboration between Professors Chris Style (Arts & Visual Design) and Larry Smith (Social Change & Development). Both are members of the Center for Food in Community & Culture. Larry Smith planted the potatoes on June 17, 2008 with support and cooperation from UWGB Dean of Liberal Arts & Sciences Scott Furlong, Facilities Manager Paul Pinkston, Director of University Union Rick Warpinski, Student Government Association representative Brad Fischer and the Center for Food in Community & Culture while Professor Sarah Detweiler (Arts & Visual Design) photographed the planting process.

Larry Smith selecting potatoes for planting, photo by Sarah Detweiler

The project celebrates the United Nations’ declaration of 2008 as The International Year of the Potato for its extraordinary role in supporting human welfare since it was exported to the world from its roots in Peru in the sixteenth-century. The Potato Patch calls attention to issues of nutrition and sustainability as it demonstrates how easily potato power can turn lawn to garden. The potatoes will provide creative sustenance for Prof. Style and her students as they make potato prints, and feed the creative soul through photographic and drawn documentation of the potato patch to create a zine that will be placed in the new Cofrin Library Zine Collection (started by Sarah Detweiler and Stephan Perkins in spring 2008 and located on the 3rd floor). The potatoes may also be eaten. . . during a potato soup feast – a frugal repast sometime after harvest with the public invited.

Opening of CFCC

Center Opening Features Lecture by Jack Kloppenburg on “Resolving the Omnivore’s Dilemma: Eating Pleasurably and Sustainably in the 21st Century.”

Jack Koppenburg lecture, photo by Christine Style

On Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 5:00 pm in Mary Ann Cofrin Hall 208, an overflow crowd heard Dr. Kloppenburg, Professor of Rural Sociology at University of Wisconsin-Madison, describe his work promoting local and regional food production. His lecture was followed by a reception and brief presentation by Lynn Walter on why we developed the Center for Food in Community and Culture at the University of Wisconsin.

At the opening reception, Christine Style presented a slide show of images of food and agriculture.

Lynn Walter explained why we established the Center for Food in Community and Culture at UW-Green Bay.

  1. The problems of the agrifood system are multifaceted—from issues of food insecurity in poorer and in wealthier countries to environmental crises such as water shortages and soil loss that impact agriculture, to food safety concerns and worries about the hazards of pesticides, and to obesity and disordered eating.  As specialists in particular disciplines, we have been trained to focus intently on one of these problems, sometimes overlooking its critical connection to the others.  A research center that brings together experts of food issues from many disciplines will encourage us to explore these linkages.
  2. The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, which has as its core mission the promotion of interdisciplinary education, is fertile ground for such a center.  Its campus-wide environmental focus is most helpful in bringing together scholars whose own research goals coincide with an ecological and holistic approach to the study of food.
  3. We have broad faculty with interest in agrifood research from nursing and psychology; nutritional and environmental sciences; literature and art; economics, geography, and anthropology. Another of our associates is a nutritional specialist from Brown County Extension.
  4. The interdisciplinary richness of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and its environmental focus can promote synergy—a positively enhancing feedback loop—between various research interests and projects.
  5. Northeast Wisconsin is a region with a strong economic base in food production, a rich set of  food traditions (from brats and booyah to corn soup and eggrolls), and a growing number of farmers, restaurateurs, and other local businesses interested in ways to promote environmental soundness, human and animal well-being, and sustainable development of food and agriculture.

Anne Kok

Anne Kok of the Center for Food in Community and Culture was suddenly taken from us in a car accident on Monday, February 4, 2008 on her way home to Sturgeon Bay. Anne’s interest in food and community focused on food security issues in Brown County. Anne was Associate Professor and Chair of Social Work. Anne and her students conducted a food security survey of vulnerable populations in Brown County, Wisconsin in 1998, 1999, and again in 2004. Karen Early, Nutrition Educator at Brown County Cooperative Extension was her collaborator in these surveys, which were done under the auspices of the Brown County Food and Hunger Network. She will be missed by her family, many students, friends, and colleagues.

Aeron Haynie Develops New “Culture of Food” Courses

Dr. Aeron Haynie was the first recipient of the Instructional Development Council’s new Advanced Course Development Grant to develop a food studies course for the humanities. The course, “The Culture of Food,” is being offered for the first time this fall 2007. It will show how the humanities can be used to examine contemporary debates about scarcity, cultural difference, gender, ethnic identity… making important intellectual issues concrete and real to students, to “connect learning to life” in a very visceral way. The course is likely to include a service-learning component (a trip to a food pantry, for example). She is also offering a new freshman seminar on this same theme.

Peterson Thesis on Traditional Oneida Food Systems

Spring term 2005, Diana L. Peterson completed her thesis, entitled “Three Sisters Gardening: Rejuvenating a Traditional Food System with the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin.” Dr. Laurel Phoenix, a faculty associate of the Center, served as Peterson’s major professor. This case study of ten community gardeners who raised a traditional Three Sisters garden for two growing seasons analyzes the sustainability of individual traditional community gardens. She concludes that this part of the Tsyunhehkw^ program, focusing on rejuvenating and preserving traditional agricultural practices, has been helpful in that regard.