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Bionutrient Food: Increasing the Quality of Our Food Supply

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
Joe Rosenfield '25 Center Room 101


Dan Kittredge is passionate about raising the quality of nutrition in our food supply.
For the past half century at least, the goal of most plant breeders and agricultural practices has been to improve traits in our fruits and vegetables such as size, productivity, growth rate, transportability, and pest resistance, with the dominant effort being toward higher yields.  Little attention has been paid to the nutritional content of these foods.
In the last decade, however, a number of scientific studies have found an actual decline in the nutritional value of some of our foods.  For example, a study by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, found “reliable declines” from 1950 to 1999 in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorous, iron, riboflavin, and Vitamin C in 43 different fruits and vegetables.  Similar findings are reported in studies by the Kushi Institute and in Great Britain.

Various explanations have been put forward to explain these declines, from natural cycles to improved testing procedures, new transportation and storage methods, and food irradiation.  Dan Kittredge, though, believes the explanation is to be found in a decline in the health of our soils. 

Kittredge, executive director of the Bionutrient Food Association (BFA), has been an organic farmer since childhood, when his parents purchased an organic farm in Barre, Massachusetts.  He grew up on that land and in his adult years managed it.  In 2008 he launched the Real Food Campaign, the forerunner to the BFA, to empower and educate farmers toward the production of quality food for the improvement of human health.  Kittredge’s experience managing organic farms and developing sustainable agriculture techniques has connected him to farmers in Central America, Russia, and India in addition to the United States.  Explains Dan, "For me, it’s about looking at food and plants in a new way – providing the ideal environment for a plant’s genetic potential to manifest itself.”
Kittredge started the BFA, he says, because he wanted to be a better farmer.  “The crops I grew regularly succumbed to pests and diseases. A crop that gets the nutritional compounds it needs can flourish and resist pests and diseases. A crop that doesn't will get sick. If nutrients are not in the plant--because they aren't in the soil to begin with or because the plant cannot access them due to agricultural practices-- then we humans aren't getting them either.”
There are 65 different elements in the human body that are necessary for our bodies to function, Kittredge points out.  Humans evolved to get these elements from our food, and our food only gets them from the soil. Most soil tests only report out about three of these elements--nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, or NPK. The Bionutrient Food Association is helping farmers address the full spectrum of elements and build a biological system in the soil, so they can grow healthier crops for healthier food.

Kittredge will speak on "Bionutrient Food: Increasing the Quality of Our Food Supply,” at 7:30 p.m. in room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield Center at Grinnell College.  His presentation, sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies, is free and open to the public.

International scholars to discuss publishing houses in India, Kenya

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
Joe Rosenfield '25 Center Room 101

Urvashi Butalia, “Publishing Against the Grain: A Story from India”
Billy Kahora, “Of Creative ‘Interventions’ and ‘Social Contracts’: Looking At Kwani”

Two international scholars, Urvashi Butalia and Billy Kahora, will give a joint lecture about publishing houses in India and Kenya at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4, at Grinnell College.

The Grinnell College Center for the Humanities is sponsoring the lecture, which is free and open to the public. The event will take place in room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, 1115 Eighth Ave, Grinnell.

Butalia, founder and CEO of Zubaan, a feminist publishing house in India, will discuss "Publishing Against the Grain: A Story From India." Butalia co-founded Kali for Women, India's first feminist publishing house, in 1984. Zubaan, the publishing house she runs today, is a successor of Kali and publishes books about and by women, as well as archiving women's histories.

Butalia has been published widely in edited volumes, newspapers and magazines both in India and abroad. One of her best-known works was featured in the award-winning history, "The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India," which received the Oral History Book Association Award in 2001 and the Nikkei Asia Award for Culture in 2003. In 2011, she was awarded the Padmashree, an honor for civilians presented by the Indian government to Butalia for her work in the field of women's education.

Billy Kahora, managing editor of Kwani Trust in Nairobi, Kenya, will discuss publishing houses as creative collectives. Established in 2003, the Kwani trust is dedicated to developing, publishing and distributing quality, creative and contemporary African writing. As managing editor, Kahora has edited seven issues of the Kwani journal as well as other Kwani publications, such as Nairobi 24 and Kenya Burning.

An award-winning short fiction and creative nonfiction author, Kahora has had his work featured in many publications in Kenya and abroad, including Vanity Fair. His story "Treadmill Love" received the Caine Prize in 2007 and his stories "Urban Zoning" and "The Gorilla's Apprentice" were shortlisted for the prize in 2012 and 2014. He also is a past recipient of the Chevening Scholarship and an Iowa Writer’s Fellowship.

The Folklore of the Freeway: Connectivity, Creativity and Conflict in the Age of Highway Construction

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
Joe Rosenfield '25 Center Room 101


Eric Avila, Professor of History, Chicano Studies and Urban Planning and Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for the Division of Social Sciences, UCLA

The Folklore of the Freeway: Connectivity, Creativity and Conflict in the Age of Highway Construction

Eric Avila is Professor of History, Chicano Studies and Urban Planning at UCLA and currently serves as Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for the Division of Social Sciences. As an urban cultural historian of Los Angeles and the United States in the twentieth century, Avila is author of "Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight: Fear and Fantasy in Suburban Los Angeles" (UC Press, 2004) and "The Folklore of the Freeway: Race and Revolt in the Modernist City" (Minnesota, 2014).  Currently, he is writing "American Cultural History: A Very Short Introduction" for Oxford University Press.

He studies the intersections of racial identity, urban space, and cultural representation in twentieth century America. Anyone with an interest in American history, urban studies, race relations, or the relationship between communities and development will be interested in his talk. For the Humanities Center series on “Sites of Creativity: Streets, Salons, Studios, and Schools", he will talk about communities of color and their resistance to the building of highways in this way mapping the creative strategies devised by urban communities to document and protest the damage that highways wrought.

Little House in the Empire: Imperialism on the Literary and Educational Frontier

Monday, November 9, 2015 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
Joe Rosenfield '25 Center Room 101


Daniel Perlstein, Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Studies in Education
Graduate School of Education
University of California, Berkeley

Laura Ingalls Wilder claimed to have written her beloved Little House novels in part to teach American children about the New Deal’s totalitarian evils.   John Dewey embodied America’s left-liberal tradition.  And yet, the two were strange pedagogical and ideological bedfellows.  Like Dewey, Wilder consistently contrasts Laura’s activity and learning at home with the routinized oppressive lessons at school.  And like Wilder, Dewey celebrated pioneer self-direction and the authenticity of pioneer life.  Less sentimental than Dewey, Wilder makes explicit the contrast between the activity of settlers and the presumed emptiness of Native lands, to be filled through the activity of settlers.  Comparing Dewey and Wilder illuminates the role of the frontier in progressive educational thought.  In short, just as the Little House books mirrored the mainstream of American progressive educational thought, progressive educational thought articulated the imperialist ideology that shaped the Little House books.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies and the Departments of Education and History. This event is free and open to the public.

Urvashi Butalia and Billy Kahora

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
Joe Rosenfield '25 Center Room 101
Urvashi Butalia, Founder and CEO of Zubaan, and Billy Kahora, Managing Editor of Kwani Trust

Scholars from India and Kenya talk about Publishing Houses as creative collectives.

Urvashi Butalia, “Publishing Against the Grain: A Story from India”
Billy Kahora, “Of Creative ‘Interventions’ and ‘Social Contracts’: Looking At Kwani”

Urvashi Butalia is co-founder of India's first feminist publishing house, Kali for Women which she set up in 1984. Today, she runs Zubaan, an imprint of Kali, and publishes books on and by women, as well as running projects on archiving women's histories. She is an independent scholar and researcher, whose best known works are the edited volumes: Speaking Peace: Women's Voices from Kashmir, Women and the Hindu Right: A Collection of Essays, Partition: The Long Shadow, and the award-winning history of Partition: The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India (winner of the Oral History Book Association Award, 2001 and the Nikkei Asia Award for Culture, 2003). She writes regularly for newspapers and magazines at home and abroad. In 2011 she was awarded the Padmashree, a government civilian award for her services in the field of women's education.

Billy Kahora lives and writes in Nairobi.  His short fiction and creative non-fiction has appeared in Chimurenga, McSweeney’s, Granta Online, Internazionale and Vanity Fair and Kwani. He has written a non-fiction novella titled The True Story of David Munyakei and was highly commended by the 2007 Caine Prize judges for his story Treadmill Love; his story Urban Zoning was shortlisted for the prize in 2012, The Gorilla’s Apprentice in 2014. He wrote the screenplay for Soul Boy and co-wrote Nairobi Half Life. He is working on a novel titled The Applications.
He is also Managing Editor of Kwani Trust and has edited 7 issues of the Kwani journal and other Kwani publications including Nairobi 24 and Kenya Burning. He is a Contributing Editor with the Chimurenga Chronic. Billy is a past recipient of the Chevening Scholarship and an Iowa Writer’s Fellowship. He has an M.Sc Creative Writing from University of Edinburgh, U.K and a Journalism and English degree from Rhodes University, South Africa. He was a judge of the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and 2012 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. He has recently been a judge for the inaugural Etisalat prize based in Nigeria.  


Friday, October 9, 2015 - 4:15pm to 5:30pm
Alumni Recitation Hall (ARH)
Jim Elmborg and Sarah Purcell

Room 102

Please join us Friday, October 9th at 4:15 p.m. in ARH 102 as we welcome Jim Elmborg, Associate Professor at the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa, and Sarah Purcell, Professor of History and Director of the Rosenfield Program of Grinnell College, to discuss how they have incorporated the digital liberal arts into their scholarship and teaching. Co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities, Digital Bridges, and the Digital Liberal Arts Collaborative.   

From the Cornfields to the Gulf

Scott Hagen

There is growing awareness that climate change constitutes the principal environmental threat of our time, and that wrapped up in it are enormous threats to the global economic and social order as well.

Climate change belongs to the category "wicked problems,” difficult or even impossible to solve because of inconsistent, contradictory, and shifting features that can be hard to recognize and model. Whatever hope there is for solving wicked problems lies in collaboration among many people and usually a change in our mindsets and behavior.

In a non-technical talk, Scott Hagen, professor, civil, and environmental engineering at the Center for Computation and Technology at Louisiana State University, will discuss aspects of climate change, relating them to Midwestern agriculture and the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

The free public event is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101. Refreshments will be served.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Scott Hagen

Hagen grew up on a farm south of the Amana Colonies, but his career path has led him to a focus on oceanic and coastal hydroscience.  After farming for 10 years, he decided to return to college and earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Iowa in 1993.  He completed a doctorate at the University of Notre Dame in 1998, researching hurricane storm surge and tidal modeling.

He worked at the University of Central Florida, where he remained for over 17 years. There, Hagen served as professor of civil, environmental, and construction engineering, building from scratch a program in tidal studies, and modeling and establishing the internationally recognized CHAMPS Lab (Center for Hydroscience Analysis, Modeling & Predictive Simulations).

Center for Prairie StudiesThe event is sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies as part of its 2015-16 programmatic theme, “Agriculture.”

Collaborative Zine-Making Workshop: Practicing Consensus and Communication

Monday, September 14, 2015 - 7:30pm

Two-Part Workshop:

Monday, September 14, 7:30 p.m., JRC 101 (Brainstorming/discussion of topic for the zine.)

Tuesday, September 15, 11 – 1:30 p.m., JRC 101 (Hands-on making the zine. Feel free to stop by and work for a few minutes or a few hours.)


Lecture Presentation and Zine Screening: Wednesday, September 16, 7:30 p.m., JRC 101

Two Grinnell College alumni, Carlos Ferguson and Kate In of Tiny Circus, will conduct a collaborative zine-making workshop Sept. 14-16 at Grinnell College. An abbreviation of fanzine, or magazine, a zine is a small circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images.

Tiny Circus is a community-based organization that uses many different forms of media to create zines that tell stories that are meaningful and engaging for audiences. These media include stop-motion animation, documentary audio and video, and social interaction to explore complex issues.

Sponsored by the Grinnell College Center for the Humanities, the Collaborative Zine-Making Workshop: Practicing Consensus and Communication is free and open to the public. Participants will experience all parts of the creative process and build a wide range of skills, including camera and sound production in animation workshops, as well as collaboration in brainstorming, communicating, and creating together.

The entire workshop will take place in room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, 1115 Eighth Ave., Grinnell. It will begin with a brainstorming session about the topic for the zine at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14.

A hands-on zine-making session will take place from 11 am. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15. Individuals may stop by and work for a few minutes or a few hours. Ferguson and In will give a presentation and host the first screening of the zine created at Grinnell at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 16.

Ferguson, a 1992 Grinnell graduate and one of the hosts of the workshop, has worked with Tiny Circus for seven years, creating stop-motion animations with community members around the country. After receiving a B.A. in art from Grinnell, he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa. He has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, the Sacatar Foundation in Brazil and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He spends several months in Grinnell and in New Orleans between Tiny Circus tours.

In, a 2013 Grinnell graduate, has been part of Tiny Circus since 2012 and has completed four tours as a full-time collaborator. She majored in sociology and had a Mellon Mays undergraduate fellowship. In addition to facilitating workshops on collaboration and animation with Tiny Circus, she composes and performs instrumental and vocal music and does freelance videography.

Choreographer Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion to perform Sept. 12

Tuesday, September 8, 2015 - 4:00pm

Grinnell College will present "When the Wolves Came In," performed by Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, in Roberts Theatre in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell.

In addition to the performance, Abraham will give a free, public talk titled "Dance Repertory as Creative Collaboration" at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, in room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield Center, 1115 Eighth Ave., Grinnell. The Grinnell College Center for the Humanities and the Public Events Committee are sponsoring the talk and the performance. 

This stand-alone repertory-based program explores the historical legacy of two triumphs in the international history of civil rights: the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 20th anniversary of the abolishment of apartheid in South Africa.

Abraham was inspired by Max Roach's iconic 1960 protest album "We Insist: Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite," which celebrated the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation and shed a powerful light on the growing civil rights movements in South Africa and the United States.

The potent themes inherent in these historical milestones are evident in Abraham's choreography, evocative scenery by visual artist Glenn Ligon, the visceral power of Roach's masterwork and original compositions of Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Robert Glasper.

A 2013 MacArthur Fellow, Abraham began his dance training at the Civic Light Opera Academy. He later studied dance at State University of New York at Purchase, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and at New York University, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts in the Tisch School of the Arts.

Abraham's choreography has been presented throughout the United States and abroad in countries including Canada, Ecuador, Germany, Ireland, Japan and Jordan. In November 2012, Abraham was named New York Live Arts Resident Commissioned Artist for 2012-14. One month later, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater premiered his work, "Another Night at New York's City Center," to rave reviews.

"When the Wolves Came In" is free and open to the public, although tickets are required. Ticket distribution will begin at noon Tuesday, Sept. 8, in the box office of the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St. A limited number of tickets are also available at the Pioneer Bookshop located at 823 Fourth Ave. Any tickets not distributed by the box office will be available the night of the show beginning one half hour before show time. For more information, call 641-269-3236.

Women and the Regenerative Agriculture of the Future

Tuesday, September 8, 2015 - 1:00pm to Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - 1:00pm
Denise O’Brien, farmer and community organizer, Atlantic, IA

Women and the Regenerative Agriculture of the Future
Denise O’Brien, farmer and community organizer, Atlantic, IA
Tuesday, September 15, Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101

4 p.m. – Panel Discussion – Wisdom of the Elders: Mentoring Beginning Farmers
Additional panelists: Carmen Black, Ash Bruxvoort, Susan Jutz

7:30 p.m. – Public Talk – A Long Time Farm Activist Looks to the Future

It is difficult to know what Iowa agriculture will look like in the future, but almost certainly it will not look like today’s agriculture.  It cannot.  There are too many things about current farming and food production methods that increasing numbers of people are questioning and that more and more observers consider unsustainable.  We need an agriculture that regenerates and restores -- the land, community, and human welfare – while providing us with healthy food. 

How do we attract young people into agriculture?  How can young farmers gain access to land?  What role can and will women farmers play in the agriculture of the future?

Denise O’Brien is uniquely positioned to address these and other questions based on her long career as a farmer and farm activist.  In the afternoon panel Denise will be joined by Susan Jutz, another long-time Iowa farmer, and two young women who are learning the ropes from them: Ash Bruxvoort (from Denise) and Carmen Black (from Susan). 

In the evening presentation Denise will provide a retrospective on changes in agriculture and offer her thoughts on the direction agriculture needs to move in the future.  Both events are free and open to the public.  Refreshments will be served.

Denise O'Brien is a farmer and community organizer from Atlantic, Iowa. She has farmed with her husband, Larry Harris, for 39 years.  She maintains sixteen acres of organic fruit and vegetable production incorporating high tunnel production. O’Brien also raises turkeys and chickens for meat and egg production.

Through farming, Denise has had numerous opportunities to work within the agricultural community working on policy development on the state, national and international level and becoming involved in the community of women in agriculture, organic production, local food systems and conservation issues.
Denise has been involved in her community as well as in the agricultural sector. She is the founder of Women Food and Agriculture Network. Her past experiences include organizing the Women's Task Force of the Iowa Farm Unity Coalition, directing the Rural Women's Leadership Development Project of PrairieFire Rural Action, Inc. and serving as president of the National Family Farm Coalition. O’Brien was a Food and Society Fellow, a W.K. Kellogg funded program from 2001 to 2003. She currently serves on the board of the Pest Action Network and the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust. In 2012 O’Brien completed a year assignment with the United States Department of Agriculture as an Agriculture Adviser in Afghanistan.

Denise has received many awards including the Practical Farmers of Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Iowa Farmer's Union. O'Brien was inducted into Iowa's Women's Hall of Fame in 2000. In January 2015 Denise was named one of 45 inspiring women by Country Woman Magazine.

Over the years O'Brien has written and spoken across the United States and the world on women in agriculture, organic and sustainable farming and local food systems. O'Brien has been quoted in national publications from the Nation to Ms. Magazine.

Carmen Black grew up outside of Solon, Iowa, participating in 4H with many agricultural projects, but adamantly didn't want to be a farmer until moving away to attend Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. It was there while studying Peace and Global Studies that she realized that many of the difficult issues facing her communities were directly related to industrial agriculture, and also recognized how much she loved growing food. For the past four years she has been a Midwest and Southeast regional organizer with Real Food Challenge, a national student organization working to shift college and university dining purchasing to more just and sustainable sources. This is her first season as a full-time farmer back in Solon.

Ash Bruxvoort is a freelance writer, marketer, and beginning farmer in Mitchellville, Iowa. She blogs about marketing for small farms and nonprofits at ashbruxvoort.com. She’s worked with many nonprofit organizations, including WFAN, the Iowa Food Coop, and The Nature Conservancy in Iowa. Her work has appeared in Edible Omaha, Modern Farmer, Seedstock, and Precision Ag Magazine. Most importantly, she spent three years working the age or weight game at Adventureland, which is where she’ll return if farming doesn’t work out.

Susan Jutz owns and operates ZJ Farm, an 80-acre diversified vegetable and sheep farm located between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.   Before moving to Iowa in 1994 she earned a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.  In 1996, she co-founded Local Harvest CSA, a three-season Community Supported Agriculture program that was one of the first CSAs in Iowa and helped pave the way for this model of community-centered farming to take root and flourish in the state. Since then, Susan has been a principal partner and vegetable grower for the CSA, which now supplies more than 200 families with a wide variety of fresh vegetables and herbs grown using organic and sustainable practices.

Susan’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and healthy food dates back to her childhood growing up on her family’s dairy farm near Gibbon, Minnesota.  Her parents cared deeply about the land and their animals, limited their use of chemicals, and always talked about the family’s responsibility to those who came after and to the land, animals and community.  In 2014 Susan Jutz was awarded the Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award by the organization Practical Farmers of Iowa.