Food for Thought was a two-year, award-winning Indiana Humanities thematic initiative presented by Indiana’s Family of Farmers.

Through this program, Hoosiers examined and celebrated the ways that food helps to define Indiana’s culture and considered food in the context of history, law, politics, science, the arts, religion, ethnicity and our place in the world.

Key elements of Food for Thought included a traveling exhibit that crossed the state, an agriculture essay contest for students, a high-profile event with chefs and authors Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert, a robust partnership and granting program, and more. At the culmination of the program we also published a beautiful coffee-table book called Food for Thought: An Indiana Harvest that featured a lively cross section of individuals contributing to Indiana’s food scene.

Food for Thought was the first of our multiyear themes and received the Schwartz Prize for best humanities program at the 2011 National Humanities Conference.


Program Highlights


Food for Thought: An Indiana Harvest

Writer David Hoppe and photographer Kristin Hess spent a year traveling the state to interview and photograph a lively cross section of individuals—from James Beard–nominated chefs to blueberry farmers, bison ranchers to activists working to feed the hungry—all who are helping to make this such an extraordinary time in the history of Hoosier cuisine. The result: a soft-cover coffee-table book, which can be purchased on Amazon.com and at local gift shops and bookstores.


Traveling Exhibit

Hoosiers engaged with a traveling exhibit that educated them about global and local food issues, increased awareness about Indiana’s rich agricultural history and stimulated conversation among families and communities.


Hoosier Food Stories

We collected Indiana food stories from Hoosiers at the traveling exhibit’s Story Silo, through a written story on the blog and during contests at the Indiana State Fair.


Teacher Materials

We created a variety of digital curriculum guides and resource lists about food for K-12 teachers. A partnership with Savor Indiana provided curriculum materials in science, math, social studies and language arts.


Food for Thought: How Hoosiers Can End Hunger

A panel discussion about global and local hunger featured Roger Thurow, author and journalist; Ted McKinney, senior director of corporate affairs at Elanco; and Jerry Adams, chairman of the board at Second Helpings.


Spirit & Place

The November 2010 Spirit & Place Festival was themed Food for Thought and featured a variety of humanities-inspired presentations and discussions.


An Evening with Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert

Indiana Humanities copresented this event with the Spirit & Place Festival and brought in two vibrant celebrity chefs for a conversation about food and culture on Sept. 30, 2010.

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FoodCon and FoodCon2

As part of Food for Thought, Indiana Humanities held an unconventional convention at the Harrison Center.

Presenting Sponsor

  • Indiana’s Family of Farmers


Contact Beth Kloote, Office Manager / Executive Assistant:
bkloote@indianahumanities.org | 317.616.0007

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