I am an historian of modern Italy and have been a member of the IU faculty since 1994. I have also been the director of the Collins Living-Learning Center at IU since 2011. My historical work and my role at Collins are described on my personal web page (under construction). About a year after after taking the Collins position I began work on creating the IU Food Project. While learning to navigate the food world at IU I served as the co-chair of the IU Office of Sustainability’s Food Working Group (FWG) for two years and continue to participate as a member of the group. The FWG has been promoting the Real Food Challenge and has organized biannual “food summits” aimed at: 1) advancing the discussion about sustainable food procurement with vendors and IU food services and 2) promoting more sustainable food choices among IU students. I also started a Sustainable Food Committee at Collins (in 2012), have participated on the Edible Campus Steering Committee, and have attended multiple meetings of food groups on campus.
A central focus of the Food Project is the UG Certificate in Food Studies. Designing and promoting the certificate over these past years I have met with most of the food faculty on campus, and with administrators in multiple schools and campus divisions. I have also piloted a course at Collins: “Edible Education 101: The Rise and Future of the Food Movement.” Edible Education is based on a similar course taught at UC Berkeley. Starting in 2016-17 I (and perhaps others) will offer the course in the Geography department (where I am now adjunct faculty).
I grew up in Berkeley, CA and have spent half a dozen years in Rome, Italy on research trips. Auspicious places for developing a food sensibility. I also worked for a decade in Bay Area restaurants and have maintained contacts in that milieu. As an Italian historian I am a fellow of the American Academy in Rome (1998-99). It was in the summer of 2012 that I sat down (to lunch) at the Academy with Alice Waters to discuss for the first time the idea of a Sustainable Food Project at IU. Waters had founded similar initiatives at both Yale University and the American Academy itself. Over these past few years I have met periodically with her to discuss the progress at IU. I have also familiarized myself with the staff and workings of her Edible Schoolyard Project that serves as yet another inspiration for the IU Food Project.