Educational Materials

To receive a pdf of this document contact Aaron Fine at
Educational materials created by Dr. Wendy Miner, Daniel Riekena, Emily Bendet, Erin Thompson, Aaron Fine, and Julia DeLancey.

We are delighted that you have chosen to come to the Art Gallery and/or use these instructional materials to extend your discussions with students. We strongly believe that art is inherently interdisciplinary and the instructional materials provide ideas for you to adapt for your own classroom/students.
The packet has activities that relate directly to the art exhibit and artists that you can encourage students to participate in at the Gallery and then there are activities to complete at school. We have included a section for your background knowledge too.
Our activities focus on these five questions:
1. Where does food come from and how is it produced? This question sounds so simple but the answers get right to the root of our general disconnect from the source of all that sustains us: we are often separated from the farmers, ranchers, and laborers who produce our food – the conditions in which they work, the nature of their work, and the rewards and burdens they face. Many of us feel distant from the animals and plants that we consume – from the mechanisms by which they are created and the ways in which they are raised and harvested. And this disconnect from our food is part and parcel of our relationship with our environment, possibly contributing to a general apathy about the ways in which our land, water, and air are compromised.

2. How does power in society impact access to food? Is hunger or food insecurity a result of a scarcity of food or do we in fact produce plenty of food to feed us all? If we enjoy a bounty who is cut off from that bounty and why? Is access to abundant and healthy food a simple matter of choice or do some of us exercise more power and have more options than others when it comes to the food they eat? Many of us enjoy easy access to food of dubious nutritional value but face obstacles in obtaining more diverse, nutritious, humanely produced and organic food options. Many things may be barriers to food access, including economic factors, age, health, transportation options, walking and biking paths, and geography. What is the role of education ensuring access to healthy food options?

3. How do changes in farming, ranching, and hunting affect our landscape? In many ways those who work in food production or enjoy a lifestyle that includes hunting and fishing may benefit from a closer connection to our environment. A farmer who lives on the land he or she farms has a clear interest in managing the land so that both the crops and that farmer’s family survive and flourish. Hunters, hunting organizations, and licensing fees contribute to vast acreage conservation and numerous successful efforts to husband wildlife resources and maintain habitats. But changes in how we produce food mean that modern farming has little resemblance to our idealized notion of the family farm. A laborer in a CAFO (confined animal feeding operation) has little of the agency that a farmer who owns the land has, and little incentive to consider the effects of their methods of production on the landscape or our communities. The nature of food production and distribution means that the agency and incentives are spread out to all of us, in remote locations, consuming foods made in ways we can scarcely imagine.

4. How are our relationships with food and food sources reflected in society? There are countless ways food and culture are intertwined, from favorite recipes marking major holidays and celebrations to different cuisines reflecting our diverse ethnic heritage. We also have fond cultural images of life on the farm or lives lived more closely with nature. At the same time we face challenges with health trends, loss of wildlife habitat, declining levels of physical activity and many other ways our food related challenges may be related to societal ills.

5. What does ‘you are what you eat’ mean to you? The question is self-explanatory—we hope.
We would appreciate hearing from you if you decide to use any of these materials. Were they helpful? Could we have used a different format that would have been more accessible? If you have students’ permission, we would love to see their creations too. My email is

Wendy S. Miner, Ph.D.
Education Professor
Truman State University

Where does food come from and how is it produced?
Activity 1 (Gallery or school)
Materials: paper, writing utensil, internet access
a. Ask students to think about a typical day and make a list of the food/drink that they consume.
b. If they are comfortable sharing their lists, ask them to work in small groups and share their lists.
c. Divide the foods into foods that come directly from a food source and those that do not. Example: apple is a food that comes directly from a food source and potato chips are processed.
d. Ask students to star the foods that they know how they are made/produced from their lists. Discuss patterns that they notice.
e. Ask students to put a checkmark by the foods that they know where the source is. Discuss patterns.
f. Ask students if it is important to know how food is made/produced and where it comes from and why or why not.
Activity 2 (school)
Materials: enough copies of the articles so that students can have some choice, but will be able to share later
a. Distribute the same article to pairs of students evenly distributing the articles so that students can jigsaw later.
b. List of possible articles:
a. Foodways from “Encyclopedia of American Studies” 2010 John Hopkins University Credo.
b. Farms from “Encyclopedia of American Studies” 2010 John Hopkins University Credo.
c. Transforming our food system. Oct./Nov. 2013. Mother Earth News
d. Supporting farmers, eating local food. (June/July 2012). Salatin, Joel. Mother Earth News.
c. Ask students to read the article in pairs. Read silently a section. One partner tells the other partner a summary of what was read and then the other partner fills in anything that the one missed. They can reference the article again if they have questions. They continue that procedure switching who shares until the entire article is read.
d. Have each partner get with a group of students who read different articles so that there is one person in each new group with different articles.
e. Ask them to share what they learned from their readings with each other.
f. Ask the teams to discuss 1 thing that interested them, 1 thing that surprised them, and 1 thing that they want to share with the class after the discussion.
Activity 3 (school)
Materials: websources for a history of hunter/gatherers, hunting as a food source and living off the land, paper, writing, writing utensil
a. Ask students how many of them know hunters/gatherers. Define the terms if they are unfamiliar with them.
b. Share the history of hunters/gatherers from the perspective of Inuit (
c. Have the students write a piece describing how living off the land would look like for them.
d. Share the story of the Churchwell family and hunting as a food source and trips that feed the hunt to table idea.
e. Ask students to revisit their descriptions and add more details now that they have become familiar with these pieces.
f. Share with each other their stories and discuss the implications of this lifestyle on their well-being (e.g., time, exercise, etc.)
Activity 4 (Gallery)
Materials: Sketchbook, drawing materials
1. Discuss this with the students: We change the world around us, but what if we made the same genetic changes to people? Would the changes help society or hurt it, especially if only a select few people were modified? Would they be considered superheroes, or would they be considered monsters?
2. After the discussion, ask the students to sketch their idea of what a modified person would look like. Could they fit into our society? Would they be accepted by other people? Why or why not? Look at work by Kirsten Stolle and Maria Lux for inspiration. Kirsten Stolle creates a commentary using found objects. She picks a seemingly innocuous poster and changes it to make a political statement about GMOs. Maria Lux makes a statement about the meat farming industry in her barn installation featuring pigs stuffed shoulder-to-shoulder in a barn. Bring to the students’ attention that society is willing to change an object or animals (through GMOs) to meet their own means and demands. What if humans were changed or treated this way?
Activity 5 (Gallery to start and then school)
Materials: Magazines, paper, drawing materials, glue, scissors
1. Describe to students that the meaning of an artwork can be changed with some manipulation. For example, Kirsten Stolle uses vintage Monsanto advertisements to create a statement about the negative impact of GMOs.
2. Describe how making collages is like creating a Frankenstein monster: all the pieces by themselves seem not to fit, but together, they make something recognizable. GMOs are comprised of an array of pieces that seem not to fit, but when put together, make a recognizable whole.
3. Use collage with the students so they can make their own statements about the foods they eat. Share their works of art.
Activity 6 (Gallery)
Materials: Sketchbook, drawing materials
1. Discuss with students the question: Where does our food come from?
2. For those who are not self-reliant with food ask: How different would our lives be if we had only ourselves to rely on for food?
3. Have students create their own What If Scenario: What if there were no food suppliers? Illustrate how they (and/or their families) might be impacted by a hunter/gatherer lifestyle. Ask students what local animals they would hunt or grow to support their families. Do they think that they could survive in this type of lifestyle? Show artwork by Maria Lux. Her artwork describes the idea of supply and demand and an overabundance of food. Ask students if being a hunter/gatherer would fix the problem of overproduction and waste. Would students use everything they found/caught to its fullest extent?
Some things to bring to attention are:
The potential physical change of having a new diet and exercise from finding food (for the student and the family)
Moving to a new location in order to find a place with more food (for example, by a coast, forest, etc.)
Would the change be difficult? Where would you learn the skills to adapt to this new lifestyle?
Sample articles for the students to read prior to working on their artwork: Article on a study of foodways. article on actriculture in farms
Activity 7 (school—definitely for older students)
Materials: internet access, paper, writing utensil
1. Introduce students to History of the World in 100 Objects
2. Ask them to synthesize what they learn about food, art, and connections between them.

Background information for teachers
The majority of the United States’ farms are located in the Midwest region. In fact, in some small Midwest farming towns, about one third of the population are farmers. As of 2011, the top crops grown by the United States included corn, soybeans, hay, wheat, cotton, grain, and rice. The United States has exported more food than it has imported since the 1960s. In 2010, the US was exporting $1.28 in food for every dollar it imported. However, about a quarter of the food eaten by the average American is imported, and therefore is not always produced in the most ideal environments. There have been instances of Chinese imported food being labeled as “organic,” when the ingredients were actually processed. Also, in 2006, Chinese shipments of dog food, cat food, and even baby formula were recalled in the United States because of tainted ingredients due to improper production.
Shifting focus to the United States, there has been evidence of non-ideal production methods, particularly when it comes to animal treatment on farms. Factory farms, or CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) or IFAP (Industrial Farm Animal Production) facilities make up 99% of American farms, and provide efficient production yet harsh conditions for animals. On these farms, more than 125,000 animals may be housed under one roof, causing basic needs—like air, sunshine, personal space, and freedom from pain and illness—to be overlooked in favor of high production rates at a low cost. Conditions are even worse around the world due to lack of knowledge about proper treatment and slaughter methods of animals. Recent efforts by organizations like World Animal Protection have decreased the amount of inhumane slaughters. Efforts continue to make agriculture more humane.

Henton, L. (2014, January 30). Where Does Our Food Come From?. In TAMU Times. Retrieved
September 29, 2014, from
Crop production (2012, October 23). In United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved
September 29, 2014, from
Kirk, C. (n.d.). Maps: Agriculture in the US and around the world. In Slate. Retrieved September 29,
2014, from
US agricultural trade (2013, March 5). In United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved September
29, 2014, from
Factory farming (2014). In Farm Forward. Retrieved September 29, 2014, from
Humane slaughter (n.d.). In World Animal Protection. Retrieved September 29, 2014, from

How does power in society impact access to food?
Activity 1 (school)
Materials: internet access, sketch pads and pencils/pens
g. Ask students to watch this clip: It is approximately 3 minutes long.
h. Discuss the issue of who has food and who doesn’t in the US and globally.
i. The CSIS is a think tank that has listed the 7 biggest problems facing the world in 25 years. They have included food and who has it and who doesn’t as a component of one of the biggest issues.
j. Here is the website. Allow students to explore the site and listen to the multiple podcasts
k. Have students think about food in their communities and perhaps invite a guest speaker who runs the food bank to come to class.
Activity 2 (Gallery)
Materials: sketchbook, writing utensil
1. Ask students to observe that Seth Czaplewski had an idea of creating a seed box that was accessible to all people. What would you add to the seed box? (Update – for personal reasons this artist was unable to participate in the exhibition. The art he was to show was to have been a “lending library of plant sprouts” – a homemade and rather rustic looking box in which sprouts are made available for free to the public.)
2. Discuss: Would you take seeds? How would this work in your community?
3. Ask students to think about other methods for distributing food? Sketch ideas.
Activity 3 (school)
Materials: food maps
1. Discuss with students food deserts in America and what they are.
2. Share the maps with them and ask them to draw conclusions and inferences after reviewing the maps. Source is

Activity 4 (Gallery and school)
Materials: Paper wrappers, compostable items, scissors, glue, soil, seeds
1. Discuss the following questions with the students: When there is no supermarket store close to your house, where do you go to get your food? Do you go to a restaurant? Do you walk to a relative’s house or a friend’s house?
2. Continue the conversation: Think about the easy-to-obtain foods that might not be the best for you: fast food, candy, soda, frozen food, etc. Why are these foods so easy to get to, even when they are not in a supermarket? Who sells this type of food? Why is it inexpensive?
3. Describe the power balance between the food industry and the consumer. Who has the upper hand? Who decides how food will be distributed? Use Seth’s Czaplewski’s Seed Boxes as an example of wholesome food distribution. Compare the idea of power and control to Jeff Schmuki and Wendy DesChene’s Dueling Attackaratus. The humans control the movement and power going to the creatures in the jars. Do humans also isolate and control populations by using their food sources as leverage? (Update – for personal reasons this artist was unable to participate in the exhibition. The art he was to show was to have been a “lending library of plant sprouts” – a homemade and rather rustic looking box in which sprouts are made available for free to the public.)
4. Ask students to make collages using paper wrappers and composting items from their favorite candies, fast food, sodas, etc. The students will use these items to eventually create their own soil and use it to grow plants. Students will see their work gradually destroyed, but see the positive impact that their work has left.
Activity 5 (Gallery and school)
Materials: Gessoed paper, pencils, paint
1. Ask students: Why do we choose to hunt and grow some of our food only for fun? Why don’t we do that all the time? Is it because of convenience? Is it wrong to hunt and grow food that we don’t need?
2. Discuss artwork by Jeff Schmuki and Wendy DesChene, and Brooks Dierdorff.
3. Describe how the artworks show manipulation of an object or animal in order to make another population seem more powerful. Ask the students if we are more powerful or if we just see ourselves as being more superior. What makes us so different than the animals that we hunt or the food we grow?
4. Have students create a painting of a hunt from a hunter’s perspective. Ask students what types of feelings are evoked from a hunt and why a person might hunt. Is hunting necessary because we have so much food already? What is the purpose?
5. Next, have students create a painting from the point of view of the hunted animal. Does the animal understand why it is being hunted? Do we understand why we are hunting the animal? Compare the two paintings side-by-side. Does it put our food situation into perspective?
Activity 6 (school)
Materials: internet, journal, sketchbook, writing utensil
1. Examine Gustave Courbet’s hunting images and share with the students. Share this article with the students or components of it. Have a discussion.
2. Share the artwork: George Caleb Bingham’s “Fur Trappers Descending the Missouri” could be great:
3. Share a part of the Thomas Hart Benton Jefferson City murals:
4. Discuss how these pieces of art reflect power in society.

Teacher background information
As Thomas Malthus pointed out years ago, this world is one where the human population is increasing exponentially, while food is increasing linearly. Though eventually, the human population will plateau, the low rate of food increase is concerning to many as of now. Because food requires energy and resources to produce, a person’s wealth is the number one predictor for obesity in the United States. According to Michael Pollen, eating on a budget can lead to unhealthy food habits because unhealthy food tends to be a cheaper option for food consumers. For example, Pollen writes that a dollar can buy 1,200 calories of cookies or chips, but can only buy 250 calories of carrots. One gets more calories from the cheaper option, so it is only logical to buy cheap, unhealthy food. There are many other factors that could lead to the inability to access healthy food, including age, health, transportation options, walking and biking paths, and geography. Some of these obstacles in food access can be combatted by education. According to researchers in the biological sciences, significant gains in productivity, and therefore food access, can be reached through working with farmers and fishermen to educate society. This would, in turn, create more economic equality, granting access to food to a greater percentage of the population.

Godfray, H. J., Crute, I. R., Haddad, L., Lawrence, D., Muir, J. F., Nisbett, N., & Pretty, J. (2010, August
16). The future of the global food system. In Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. Retrieved September 29, 2014, from
Pollan, M. (2007, April 22). You are what you grow. In The New York Times. Retrieved September 29,
2014, from

How do changes in farming, ranching, and hunting affect our landscape?
Activity 1 (school)
Materials: copies of the RAFT, paper, writing utensils
1. Explain to students that land has varied uses. Hunters need land for conservation where animals can live in appropriate habitats. Farmers need acreage to farm and produce mass quantities of food or enough for a family. Confined animal feeding operations (CAFO) use the land differently than conservationists. We are all stewards of the land and our landscape. What do students want their landscape to look like in the future and what will they need to do to keep it that way?
2. Introduce the RAFT to students and allow them to write. If you are unfamiliar with RAFT, you ask students to choose a role and then once they have a role, they follow the row across and that dictates the format, audience, and topic.

Role Audience Format Topic


News Item
Living in a CAFO

Barbed Wire

Kid from the suburbs
Things I have seen over the years


Land use


Requesting hunting rights


A list of directions

3. Share their work.

Activity 2 (Gallery)
Materials: Paper, pencil, pen/marker
1. Discuss the purposes of hunting while looking at Clare Benson’s photography. Do the students think hunting is necessary?
2. Move to J.W. Fike’s artwork. Discuss all of the different types of vegetation and their edibility. Ask the students if they think it is important to know how much of a plant is edible. Why or why not?
3. Then move to Maria Lux’s large scale sculpture. Ask the students to discuss what they think about the pigs crammed in a space like that.
4. Ask students to discuss the three artists they just observed. Classify each artwork. Clare Benson’s photography representing hunters appropriately controlling the wildlife population, J.W. Fike’s photography representing the wise consumer that is aware of what he/she is eating, and Maria Lux’s artwork representing the food industry pushing the limits to make food production cheaper.
5. Ask students to relate previous knowledge to guess which of the three classifications they think is most prevalent in society today. Discuss the results, but as far as this discussion goes there is no correct answer.
6. Guide students to Margi Weir. Discuss how the patterns tell a narrative. Discuss one of the patterns with your students.
7. Have students draw artwork with patterns or subject matter like Margi Weir, but telling a narrative of what a town may look like in 50 years if the classifications they thought was most prevalent continues to be the most prevalent.
8. Discuss with the students what they want for a future landscape and how they can impact the way the landscape develops.

Teacher background information
Originally, many American farms were locally owned. Today, many of these still exist, but others have been replaced by factory farms, or CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations). These farms make up 99% of the country’s farms, and they are also among the biggest polluters to the planet, according to many environmental protection agencies. It has even been suggested that these animal agricultural farms are the largest contributor to global warming. However, there have been changes to local farming practices that are changing our landscape for the better. More than half of farmers in the US work to provide habitats for wildlife. Further, under farm bill initiatives, farmers and ranchers have created more than two million miles of conservation buffers, which improve the quality of renewable resources and provide extension of wildlife habitat and scenery. Finally, farmers have contributed greatly to a decline in erosion of cropland. Since 1982, there has been almost a 50 percent decline in cropland erosion due to wind and water. This is also due to conservational tillage, more energy-efficient than conventional tillage, and better for preventing erosion. Organic farming is another advancement in farming that has increased biodiversity and decreased the use of herbicides and antibiotics in crop and animal production respectively.

Crop production (2012, October 23). In United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved
September 29, 2014, from
Factory farming (2014). In Farm Forward. Retrieved September 29, 2014, from
Fast facts about agriculture (2014). In The Voice of Agriculture: American Farm Bureau Federation.
Retrieved September 29, 2014, from

How are our relationships with food and food sources reflected in society?
Activity 1 (Gallery and school)
Materials: Cameras, Computer, Printer
1. Sometimes when we live in a city, we forget how to live our lives more closely with nature. Often, we don’t think about where our food comes from when we pick it up in the supermarket. Could this be because we do not live close by to our food source? What would it look like if we had our food sources grown right in our city? Would our city-grown food look the same as that grown by people outside the city? Can we find edible plants growing in our city, be it in a garden or in the park?
2. Show students artwork by Jimmy Fike and Larry Gawel. Explain to students that many of the photographs were taken in their own gardens in cities or close by to where the photographers live.
3. Have students research edible plants found in their area and try to locate them in their city.
4. Once the plants have been located, have students take composition-minded pictures of the plants.
5. Once all the pictures have been taken and printed, have a gallery showing of how many different kinds of edible plants are in the area. The students may be surprised.
Activity 2 (Gallery)
Materials: Paper, markers
1. How are we challenged to make food-related decisions? Do we want to be healthy, but a cheeseburger advertisement is making us crave one? Do we have an ongoing battle with our finances and how much we are spending in the grocery store?
2. Advertisements for food are designed to get the consumer hungry and ready to buy the product. It is more than just the words on the advertisement. It’s the size, the color, the shape, and the product itself that finally gets you to buy. Why do food advertisements always look so good, even though the food in the advertisement is a sculpture made from putty and plaster? How can we overcome our love/hate relationship with food advertisements?
3. Show students artwork from artist Garet Martin. Martin creates generic, pseudo vintage advertisements. Describe to students that even though we don’t know what the artwork is advertising, we still find the work to be bright, eye-catching, and interesting (the same factors that go into making a food advertisement).
4. Ask students to think about all the food advertisements they see in a day.
5. Ask students what makes a good advertisement, keeping in mind Martin’s artwork and the daily exposure that they have to food ads.
6. Have students illustrate an ad for a healthy food option that you wouldn’t normally see an advertisement for, i.e. an ad for celery or apples. Can the ads still be convincing?
Activity 3 (Gallery)
Materials: Sketchbook, drawing materials
1. Looking at artwork from artists Kristen Woodward and Lindsay Stern, think about how many times we journey to the kitchen in search of food. More often than not, we use this time to look at all the foods we have and all of the choices, only to close the fridge because we did not like our options. What does this say about how we approach food? Are we appreciative? Do we feel as if we have complete power over our food and our food-related choices? Does food actually make us feel like we are in more control? Are we actually in control and should we be in control?
2. Have students draw (in their sketchbook for reflection) three different foods they’ve binged on, made health-conscious (good or bad) decisions regarding to, or snubbed in the past week. Ask the students if they see any trends with the foods. Do the students feel guilty about eating/not eating these foods? Do they tend to be healthy foods or unhealthy foods? Are they processed or non-processed? Did they give up another food for these foods? Are these foods that are always in your house? Should we be happy with all foods or just certain foods?
Activity 4 (school)
Materials: websites with artists
1. Share the following artists and their histories with the students.
a. Giovanna Garzoni (Italian, 1600-1670). Still Life with Citrons. Late 1640s. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum. Pronunciation: djo-VAHN-na gart-ZOH-knee. Although she originally came from the Marche region in Italy, Garzoni is most well-known for her work in Rome and especially for the Medici court in Florence and Tuscany where she worked for Grand Duke Ferdinand II de’ Medici and two of his relatives who were cardinals in Rome. Her still life paintings often showed attractive arrangements of seasonal fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Although we know little about her training, while at the Medici court she would have had the chance to interact not only with prominent artists of the day, but also with botanists whose research the Medici fostered. National Museum of Women in the Arts page on Garzoni:
b. Wayne Thiebaud (American; 1920 – ). Cut Meringues. 1961. New York: Museum of Modern Art. Pronunciation of Thiebaud: TEE-bow If Wayne Thiebaud comes up in conversation, most art lovers will immediately say “Oh! He’s the guy who does pies and cakes”. The series for which Thiebaud is most well-known features classic baked goods such as pies, cakes, and other bakery delicacies arranged regularly as they would be in diner or automat display cases. Although sometimes erroneously associated with Pop art, Thiebaud’s work focuses more positively on these slices of Americana. His painting technique relies on thick, heavy, impasto application of paint and at times handles the paint almost as frosting, applying it in wide strokes, using a palette knife just as a baker would frost a cake. Some other sources for his work if students are interested are: CBS Sunday Morning video feature with Wayne Thiebaud, including interview with the artist:, Podcast from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art about Thiebaud:, Wayne Thiebaud at the Museum of Modern Art: and Article on Thiebaud from the Smithsonian Magazine:
c. Jean-François Millet (French, 1814-1875). The Gleaners. 1857. Paris: Musée d’Orsay. Pronunciation: jahn FRAHN-swah MEE-yay. Together with numerous other European artists in the mid-nineteenth century, Millet looked to art to play a role in criticism of social structures and mores. In images such as The Gleaners, on which Millet worked for seven years, he focused on the effects of increasing urbanization in France on the French countryside. Millet’s focus here is not on the abundant harvest being readied in the background, but more on the three women in the foreground, known as ‘gleaners’. These economically challenged, rural women were given permission to follow after the harvesters and pick up any corn cobs left over. Because of the need to bend to the ground to pick up the cobs which lay among vertical, broken stalks, the work resulted in pain and injury to backs and hands and in very little food for the time spent. Although unpopular with the upper classes which oversaw the Salons, Millet’s work did find a ready audience among others wishing to change social structures. Other possible sources for discussion: Khan Academy SmArt History talk on The Gleaners: and Link to Google Art Project high-resolution image:
d. Here are a few possibilities that deal with rural life and scarcity rather than abundance: Vincent Van Gogh, The Potato Eaters: and Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936: The photograph is of Florence Thompson and her children–the children did not like the image because they felt it made it look as if their mother hadn’t taken care of them. They had had to move as a result of the Dust Bowl, seeking work. Lange herself used her car roof to take pictures from at times because of mobility issues she dealt with as a result of having polio when she was a girl. Library of Congress page on this photo: including images of other photos Lange shot of the same family.
2. Ask students to discuss the essential question how are our relationships with food and food sources is reflected in society—past and present.
Teacher background information
Many people do not know the whole food system. Many use the supermarket as their main source of food, forgetting the process that food had to undergo just to arrive on those familiar shelves. Our relationship with food is reflected in the many fast food chains, supermarkets, and processed foods and desserts that have become so common in our society. It is also reflected in cultural traditions that center themselves around food, including Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. Our society has also faced challenges including declining wildlife habitat, health-related diseases at a high, increasing instances of childhood obesity, and more. These reflect Americans’ use and misuse of our food sources. But along with these grim facts, many middle- to upper-class Americans have begun pushing for healthier options. The food consumers of the United States have been credited with building up the organic food industry and increase in farmer’s markets in the past few years. Overall, society reflects our cultural connections, problems, and solutions in terms of our relationship with food.

King, B. S., Tietyen, J. L., & Vickner, S. S. (2000). Food and agriculture: Consumer trends and
opportunities. In University of Kentucky. Retrieved October 2, 2014, from

Click to access IP58a.pdf

Overweight and obesity statistics (2014, July 24). In Weight-control Information Network. Retrieved
October 2, 2014, from
Pollan, M. (2007, April 22). You are what you grow. In The New York Times. Retrieved September 29,
2014, from

You are what you eat.
Activity 1 (Gallery and school)
Materials: Paper, pencil, colored pencils, Internet Capable Device, Projector
1. Have students reflect upon their experience at the Hunter/Gatherer: Food and Conservation show.
2. Ask students to think of their favorite food. Make sure each student only chooses one food instead of making lists of favorite foods.
3. Explain the project they will be creating. If possible, show examples.
4. Ask students to get a piece of paper and draw out their favorite foods. The food item should fill the whole page. It is the focus of the drawing.
5. Ask students to draw their characteristics into their favorite food. That could mean their clothing, their hairstyles, their glasses, etc.
6. Ask students to then draw their favorite place to eat in the background. That could mean their home, a fast food restaurant, or a sit-down restaurant, etc.
7. Discuss the results with the students. Possible questions:
-Do you know where your favorite food comes from?
-How would your life be different if you were your favorite food?
-Do you think the expression, “You are what you eat” is true?
Activity 2 (Gallery and school)
Materials: projector, internet,
1. Remind students of Kirsten Stolle’s artwork. If possible, use projector to show students Stolle’s work. Mention how she used advertisements from chemical companies or USDA promotional videos to change the message of the advertisement.
2. Ask the students if they would like to buy any of the food that is shown in Stolle’s artwork.
3. Remind students of Larry Gawel by projecting his photographs.
4. Ask students if they would like to buy any of the food shown in Gawel’s Tin Type photographs.
5. Ask students to compare Gawel and Stolle’s representation of food.
6. (optional) If the students are in the age group to have phones or Facebook accounts then they are probably familiar with people posting pictures of their meals on Instagram or Facebook. If the students are aware of this pastime then ask them if the meals posted online are healthy or unhealthy meals? Why do they think that type of meal is posted more?
7. Ask the students if they are what they eat then why would they eat something that’s origin is a mystery?
Teacher background information
This phrase was first used by Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in the early 1800s and later revised by philosopher Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach in the 1860s. These men proposed that food can greatly affect our state of mind and health. The phrase did not enter into American vernacular until a weight loss specialist, Victor Lindlahr, wrote in his 1942 book that most Americans depended on cheap foodstuffs to sustain them. He suggested that because humans were eating unhealthily, they would later become unhealthy and would be stricken by various diseases which he stated were caused by cheap foodstuffs. He wrote these words exactly: “you are what you eat.” Recent research thanks to the Human Genome Project has developed into a new subfield called nutritional genomics, which studies how food can affect certain genes and how genes can determine how our bodies respond to various nutrients. This research demonstrates that the meaning to “you are what you eat” is that nutrition can actually switch genes on and off, determining what diseases or genes are expressed. Michael Pollan states, simply, that we should eat food, but not too much, and that we should eat mostly plants. His essay becomes more complicated when actually defining food, but his main message is that we should try to eat as much natural, unprocessed, and diverse food as possible because we risk becoming unhealthy if we eat processed foods.

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Vanacek, J. (2012, October 9). Nutrigenomics: You really are what you eat. In Forbes. Retrieved October
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