I have had the privilege the last two years to serve on the Steering Committee for the Indiana Humanities Council's (IHC) Food for Thought Initiative. IHC has convened an enthusiastic and diverse group of partners to develop the multi-year Food for Thought Initiative. They recognized that the need for food links all of us, but the food we eat, the way we grow, prepare and eat it, our mealtime rituals, traditions and conversations…all of these elements distinguish us as cultures and individuals.
Food for Thought is an examination and celebration of the ways food helps to define Indiana’s culture, considering food in the context of history, law, politics, science, the arts, religion, ethnicity and our place in the world. Through this program, Hoosiers have shared and sampled the cultures reflected at the state’s table and addressed the local and global issues of hunger, nutrition, food production, obesity, food security and safety.
There have been numerous events connected to Food for Thought, including a one-night community conversation about food and ethnic identity called Chew on This. More than 150 people met at one of nine locally-owned restaurants for the fun evening full of diverse views and opinions. Last Fall, IHC joined with Spirit and Place and several sponsors including Ice Miller and hosted an evening conversation with internationally recognized chefs, Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert.
There also is a traveling exhibit designed to engage and educate Hoosiers about global and local food issues, increase awareness about Indiana’s rich agricultural history and stimulate conversation among families and communities. The exhibit will be traveling across the state this summer and is well worth the visit. The summer schedule is below.
June 4 - 19: Randolph County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Winchester
July 19 - Aug. 3: Knox County Public Library, Vincennes
Aug. 5 - 21: Indiana State Fair, Indianapolis
Aug. 30 - Sept. 8: West Lafayette Public Library, West Lafayette
Sept. 10 - Oct. 2: Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library, Evansville
At a time when there is much debate over the "right kind" of food or the "right kind" of agriculture, IHC has motivated Hoosiers to think about ALL kinds of food and agriculture. There's a lot more "food for thought" on IHC's website at http://www.indianahumanities.org/foodforthought/.