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ISU Launches Food Studies Program With 'Seasons of Change' Viewing

A documentary that depicts a Woodford County vegetable farmer's struggle with climate change is scheduled to play in a sneak preview at the Normal Theater on Wednesday night.

Ines Sommer produced "Seasons of Change on Henry's Farm." She said the piece shows how Henry Brockman came to see the impacts that increasingly-frequent weather extremes are having on his crops.

Henry Brockman working at farmers market
Credit Alex Sing
Henry Brockman has become an advocate for combating climate change after seeing its impacts on his family farm.

“In some ways he was a much earlier than most of us in terms of how these changing and emerging weather patterns are going to impact farming dramatically,” Sommer said.

She said Brockman became a more vocal advocate for reducing greenhouse gas emissions after seeing more frequent weather extremes put our food supply at risk.

“I think his outlook is a bit darker and I think resonates with what many of us feel now and what many younger people feel now to that we are running out of time,” Sommer said.

Brockman and Sommer will be on hand for a Q-and-A session after the film.

https://vimeo.com/359182242">Seasons of Change on Henry's Farm TRAILER from https://vimeo.com/inessommer">Ines Sommer on Vimeo.

ISU Food Studies

Illinois State University is sponsoring the event as a launch for its new food studies program which started this fall.

Ines Sommer and Terra Brockman
Credit Alex Sing
Ines Sommer (left) worked with Terra Brockman on producing the "Seasons of Change" documentary which will be played at the Normal Theater on Sept. 25.

The new minor incorporates curriculum from multiple departments. Co-director Gina Hunter said the program includes classes in agriculture, anthropology, geography, marketing and others. Students are required to take courses from three departments other than their major.

Hunter said the broad-based curriculum will help prepare students come up with ways to feed a growing population.

“Whether that is looking at various kind of biotechnology or looking at how we can better take care of the planet through agricultural practices, food studies is a place where you can get that broader perspective,” Hunter said.

Hunter said food studies programs on college campuses have been on the rise in the United States over the last 15 to 20 years.

“We found that students were interested in thinking about where their food comes from, what are the implications for society, for the environment, for their health of everything we are eating,” Hunter said.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.