The Indiana Humanities Council (IHC) recently launched an ambitious two-year program aimed at reminding Hoosiers of our collective traditions – much of that involving the production, consumption and culture of food. Entitled, aptly enough, Food for Thought, the project will assemble many of our fellow citizens, as the IHC says, to think, read and talk about food. How does food help to form our social groups – how does food reminds us of special people and special times – how does the food we produce help to feed the world – and, how does it define and, at times, confine us? How is it that a matter about which we spend so much time producing, distributing, buying, preparing and eating elicit so precious little time in thinking? We routinely fail to consider the central role that it has and does play in our lives.
I like that this group is reminding us about our collective history and the bright future that we share – one of food, both as a consumer and producer. Most of us may be aware that US farmers not only feed the hundreds of millions living within our teeming shores they also share the abundance with countless millions more around the globe. And what’s more, US innovation in agriculture has brought farming techniques and technologies to help all nations in their quest to feed their own peoples. Indiana, with a strong farming heritage, advanced science from state universities, and businesses, can claim an important role in our nation’s service.
Years ago when I first found my way to the big city, I recognized the culture of it all. There were museums, operas, stadiums and people – lots of people. But it was years later that I recognized that Indiana has its own unique culture. Perhaps it is Agro-Culture; but it is a culture worth celebrating.