People often talk about where their food comes from, but in addition to a “where,” there is also a “who.”
The faces of some of those people are displayed on the Anderson Commons wall in Knutson Campus Center. Honey harvesters, bread bakers and potato growers are a few of the images that are the faces of our food.
The project, which is a collaboration among a photography class, the Taste Not Waste program and Dining Services, gives people a new connection to their food.
English professor Dr. Joan Kopperud is a co-coordinator for the Taste Not Waste program, which strives to reduce food waste in Anderson Commons by 50 percent by the year 2020. The goal is to get diners to take only the food they will eat. The pledge for waste reduction has been in place for a year and the college has reduced waste in Anderson Commons by 15 percent. Kopperud wondered if showing diners the people who grow and create their food would make them think more about the food that they take.
“Many people have become less connected to their food source – that is, those who grow, process, prepare and serve their food,” Kopperud said.
As the director of Integrative Learning, Kopperud is always looking for intersections between programs and people. She asked assistant professor of photography Chris Mortenson if his class would be interested in taking photographs of growers. Mortenson saw it as a great collaboration and a way to get his students’ work some extra exposure.
“You can’t get much more high traffic than this,” Mortenson said as he worked with students to place the images on the wall.
The beauty of the environmental portraits and the still life of the products are also in the paper on which they are printed.
“It’s essentially a giant Post-it note,” Mortenson said as he assisted students measuring placement and sticking their work to the wall.
Students said working with the food producers was also enjoyable because they shared their work so freely.
“We wanted students to see the people who are making their food,” said photography student Bailey Tillman ’18. “Dining Services makes an effort to use local products and there are real humans behind it.”
A part of sending out thoughtful and informed students is making responsible food choices a part of daily life, Kopperud said.
“We hope patrons will see the images and think about their own food choices and habits,” Kopperud said. “The beautiful photographs remind us that food is about people and practices.”