By the end of the semester, Stacey and I completed thirteen interviews with fifteen food scientists whose projects included canning, fermenting, foraging, gardening, urban farming, placenta encapsulation, and others. After spending approximately 1-2 hours with each participant in their own homes, we invited everyone to two additional events hosted at the Digital Arts Ranch during the first and second week of May:
- food workshop This large group meeting was designed to encourage networking among participants who completed three hands-on projects (kombucha, sauerkraut, dairy kefir)
- co-authoring workshop This smaller group meeting was designed to arrive at a shared vision and draft plan for a scholarly publication on food literacy.
Food Workshop Seven practitioners, and our research collaborative (Associate Professor Elenore Long of the English Department joined us) attended the 2 hour food workshop. Informal leaders were chosen beforehand to show others the basics according to the three major projects (kombucha, sauerkraut, dairy kefir). As the photos below demonstrate, a variety of materials were circulated which allowed participants to discuss preferences (flavorings) as well as compare processes and experiment a bit.
Co- Authorship Workshop At the end of the food workshop, participants were given a copy of The Community Literacy Journal’s call for papers for a special issue on Food Literacy. Everyone was invited to return the following week to meet with our research collaborative, but on the day, only four participants opted to participate in the two hour long deliberative process aimed at considering our purposes as co-authors. The photos below show our efforts to arrive at insights that might prove valuable to a scholarly audience.
We did not meet with participants (face-to-face) after the two events we hosted at the Digital Arts Ranch. However, we continued working on the draft for the academic journal asynchronously via Google Docs. After two major revisions, we met our June first deadline (we wrote feverishly for two solid weeks having begun May 14th), and sent our co-authored draft to the editor.
On July, 1 we received word from The Community Literacy Journal that our submission would be included in the Fall 2015 publication (10.1) focused on community food literacies. The title, list of co-authors and short abstract are include below:
- Title – Mindful Persistence: Literacies for Taking up and Sustaining Fermented-Food Projects
- Co-authors – Christina Santana, Stacey Kuznetsov, Sheri Schmeckpeper, Linda Curry, Elenore Long, Lauren Davis, Heidi Koerner, and Kimberly McQuarrie
- Abstract: Resisting the mainstream food supply requires persistence–especially for food projects requiring fermentation. A team of scholars and community members dramatizes a joint inquiry from which emerged a composite portrait of mindful persistence as the engine that drives their food literacies. Situated insights of individual writers indicate that while this team shares an interest in fermentation, this interest does not require or assume identical understandings of the science of fermentation or similar positions in the probiotic debate surrounding contemporary fermentation practices. Instead, what is shared is a mindful persistence that scaffolds reflective action in this dynamic problem space.