From Farm to Table

Abram Kaplan, associate professor of environmental studies, began teaching a course called Farmscape back in 2007. It allowed students to study Ohio farmland preservation—the effort to save the land from development—and gave them a chance to visit nearby farms, documenting the issue through photographs. When he learned that the intellectual theme for Denison’s 2009-10 school year would be “Consumption” and that many speakers and events on campus would focus on issues facing the American food system, he revamped the class. So students taking the Farmscape course last year got a taste of something a little different. In addition to visiting farms across the state, their fieldwork included time spent at a grocery store, a local orchard, a meat processing plant. Some came away declaring themselves vegetarians. Some vowed to buy local. Some considered it all a priceless lesson in where our food comes from, but didn’t plan to change a thing. They all, however, walked away with some telling images and a new appreciation for how our food makes it to our mouths.

From Farm to Table
Agrarian windmill

Photo by Jimmy Haller '12

"The food system is a progression of stages–a conveyor belt along which food travels, before eventually reaching our table."

–Kelsey Blongewicz '11, a geosciences major

Rusty leg

Photo by Robert Winter Fox '12

"I soon realized that I had no idea where my food came from, what was in it, and how it got to me. That was pretty scary, and I was relieved to find out that it didn't have to be that way."

– Jimmy Haller '12, an economics/ communication double major

Oranges

Photo by Katherine Leight '10

Got Apples?

Photo by Kelsey Blongewicz '11

Cow wanting scratches

Photo by Melissa Grannetino '12

Photo by Erin Chadwell '12

"The creation of food can become mere industry–and nature, animals, and workers just cogs in the machine."

–Christopher Donald Thompson '10, a political science major

Corn silo, pre-tariffs

Photo by Anna Farrell '13

"Are we better off with the way we live our lives today? Are we healthier and happier? What would our food system be like if high fructose corn syrup didn't exist?"

–Erin Chadwell '12, a biology/communication double major

Hay, hay, hay

Photo by Anna Farrell '13

"Have you ever thought about what ingredients constitute the thousands of food products that line the shelves of our grocery stores, our pantries, and refrigerators? Where do these ingredients come from? Who grows them? Are they raw or processed? Organic or inorganic? Vegan or conventional?"

– Anna Farrell '13, an environmental studies/english literature double major

Published June 2010