Published: March 6, 2017
Workshop, Dig In, Boulder Valley School District
More than just miles, Dig In, Boulder Valley School District

On Friday, Feb. 10, CDE (formerly BoulderTalks) assisted in convening a workshop and creating a teacher packet for high school art teachers in Boulder Valley School District participating in The Shed, Boulder County’s first countywide educational art project supporting local food. The contest, “Dig In! to Local Food” asks high school students to learn about and highlight issues within and beyond our food system to explore the idea that “local food is about more than just miles.” 

The contest supports The Shed’s work as a new education campaign formed by a coalition of business, government, education, and non-profit leaders in Boulder County and contributes to the goal of balancing our local food system by encouraging increased production, consumption, and preservation of regional and local food options. Student art will be featured at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA) on Earth Day, April 22, 2017, just outside of the Boulder County Farmers Market. The event is open to the public.

Constance Gordon, CDE research fellow, and Veronica House, CDE Faculty Fellow and Associate Director for Service Learning and Outreach in the Program for Writing and Rhetoric, led the teacher gathering along with invited guests: Brian Coppom, director of the Boulder County Farmers Market, and Mark and Kena Guttridge, founding owners of Ollin Farms in Longmont, CO. During the gathering, catered by local Seeds Cafe at the Boulder County Public Library, teachers had an opportunity to learn from Brian and Mark about the successes and struggles of local farmers in Boulder County, explore ways to utilize art for social change, and discuss the nuances of local food through a food justice lens.

“Food justice requires that we imagine new ecological and social relationships and support communities right to grow, sell, and consume food that is culturally appropriate, affordable, and nutritious,” Constance expressed. “One way we do this is to advocate for food economies that take the well-being of consumers, land, workers, and animals seriously. Students have an opportunity to explore what this might mean for our own Boulder County foodshed.”  

The idea for the contest came out of a research project Veronica House began with her undergraduate students exploring what assumptions consumers often make about local food. The results of their research highlighted that although many people value the idea of local food, consumers have divergent and even misleading understandings of what local food actually is. The goal of the Dig In! art contest is to expand the definition and make the case that, as The Shed explains, “local food is about more than just miles.” Students have the opportunity to artistically reflect a social and/or environmental food problem, give attention to a food issue, highlight a person or effort that is under covered, celebrate what is working in our local community, or inspire a solution to a problem and energize community involvement. With the help of their art teachers, students can choose different artistic mediums through which to express their findings.

Mark your calendars and visit BMoCA on April 22, 2017 to see the final results!

The contest is partially funded by a CU Boulder Public Outreach and Community Engagement Interdisciplinary Group Award to support food literacy. CDE has partnered with The Shed to assist with community engagement around food.