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Meat Your Vegetables: An Exploration into Food Sustainability on a Small Liberal Arts Campus

Audrey Holder

Name: Audrey Holder
Major: Anthropology
Minor: Environmental Studies
Advisors: Seiko Matsuzawa, Heather Fitz Gibbon (second reader)

Most Inventive Title

There have been several studies that link food to sustainability, which has prompted people to look closely at higher education institutions and their response to food sustainability. This study looks at the competing discourses around food sustainability and meat consumption at a small liberal arts college in the Midwest and how students feel about food sustainability on campus. It also looks at how students conceptualize food sustainability and if meat is part of that conceptualization or not. To answer these questions, I conducted five formal interviews with two professors, two key students, and the head of campus dining at the college and sent out a concise yet effective survey to all enrolled students at that particular college.

I discovered that the way students view food sustainability varies on class year and the amount of immersion and education they have received on the topic. I look at two theorists to conceptualize this information. One of these two is Sidney Mintz who explores food as a central element of expression in all cultures. I use his framework of culture and power in food relations. The other theorist I look at is Peggy F. Barlett, who focuses on the four components of sustainable campus food projects, which I use to propose some strategies that the college can use to become more sustainable with food, especially meat. These strategies include starting a Meatless Monday, having an environmental sustainability course that is required for students to take, and encouraging more students to work in campus gardens.

Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2022.


5 responses to “Meat Your Vegetables: An Exploration into Food Sustainability on a Small Liberal Arts Campus”

  1. David McConnell says:

    Congratulations on completing your IS, Audrey! It’s so exciting to see this project come to fruition. I enjoyed your presentation a lot. Best wishes for the final weeks of school and for your post-graduation plans!

  2. Dante King says:

    Hi Audrey! Fantastic job!! This makes a lot of sense, and I especially like the idea of a required sustainability course. Thank you for sharing and best wishes for what’s ahead! 🙂

  3. Matt Mariola says:

    Great summary, Audrey, it was a pleasure to help you facilitate this project. And of course I agree with your suggestion of greater student involvement in campus gardens!!

  4. Emily Davis '20 says:

    Incredibly interesting IS Audrey! I learned so much and echo your call for meatless Mondays and students working on campus gardens.

  5. Sarah Sobeck says:

    Thanks for sharing Audrey! It sounds like an interesting project and congratulations on your work. ~ Dr. Sobeck

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