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Nature Photographer Ken Saunders II Exhibit Opens in Burling Gallery

Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 8:00am to Saturday, October 15, 2016 - 10:00pm
Burling Library


Exhibition: August 25 - October 15
Opening Reception: Friday, September 2, 4:00 p.m., Burling Gallery

“Nature photography is my passion,” says Ken Saunders II, who retired from a long career with the College’s Facilities Management in 2015.   Looking at his photographs, one is compelled to add that nature photography is also his forte.  Ken’s striking photographs show us nature at its most beautiful.  His favorite subjects are individual animals and plants, captured in their natural habitat at rest or in motion, with close-up or telephoto lens. 

All of the photographs in this exhibit, titled “Portraits of Nature in Iowa,” were taken within 40 miles of Grinnell.  It may surprise some viewers that this diversity of wildlife can be found so close to our community.   Ken could perhaps agree with Henry David Thoreau’s statement -- “What’s the need of visiting far-off mountains and bogs if a half-hour’s walk will carry me into such wildness and novelty?” -- though in fact he also photographs in other parts of the country, especially in the mountain west.

Ken recalls getting his first camera – a Kodak 104 Instamatic, which retailed for $15.95 – when he was about seven years old.  Many years later he advanced to a 35mm film single-lens reflex camera, a Pentax, and then in 2003 began experimenting with digital photography.  He got his first digital single-lens reflex camera in 2006, a Nikon D200, and has been working in this vein ever since.

The Center for Prairie Studies is pleased to co-sponsor this exhibit of Ken’s photography with Faulconer Gallery.  The exhibit is displayed in Burling Gallery and will run from August 25 to October 15.  An opening reception will take place at Burling Library Gallery (lower level) on Friday, September 2, at 4:00. 

Building Local Food Systems: Two Case Studies, California and Iowa

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Joe Rosenfield '25 Center Room 101


How do you create a local food system?  On August 31, in JRC 101, at 4:00 and 7:30 p.m., two speakers will share their experiences creating local food systems in two very different locations: the Bay Area of San Francisco and the Meskwaki Settlement in Tama County, Iowa. 

More and more people are interested in eating food raised near where they live.  It is fresher, tastes better, and is often more nutritious.  Because it is produced on a smaller scale, it is more likely to be raised using organic methods, which make it healthier.  Purchasing food grown near where you live also contributes more to the local economy than buying the same food from big retail grocers. 

But “buying local” can face challenges.  Is supply adequate to meet the demand?  How do consumers connect with farmers? Are the types of food being raised locally also the types that consumers want?  Is local food out of the price range of many consumers?  If locally raised food is normally available for only part of the year, can anything be done to lengthen the growing season or make the food available year-round?

Answers to many of these questions can be found through the creation of local food systems. Going beyond ad hoc relationships and even such worthy organizations as farmers markets, a local food system is a coordinated, self-consciously planned set of institutionalized relationships among farmers, consumers, businesses, and communities, structured in a way that maximizes the availability of affordable local food to members of a community. 

Jennifer Vazquez-Koster has been working on local food initiatives in Iowa for 10 years.  She is currently manager of the two-year old Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative, an umbrella that encompasses three garden-farm operations at the Meskwaki Settlement in Tama County: a senior garden affiliated with the senior living center at the Settlement, a school garden, and Red Earth Gardens, a large-scale commercial organic operation that sells produce through a Tribally Supported Agriculture (TSA) program, a farm stand, and area grocery stores. The concept behind “food sovereignty” is for the Meskwaki to reclaim their food system from the national industrial food and agriculture system. 

Thomas Nelson ‘91 has been instrumental in advancing the local food system in the San Francisco Bay Area.  He launched a community-based social enterprise, Capay Valley Farm Shop, which connects 54 farms and ranches in the Capay Valley to Bay Area families and businesses, in the latter category focusing on tech companies, online grocery, and neighborhood businesses.  He is also a business advisor at Kitchen Table Advisors, a non-profit that works with beginning farmers to help them market their products.  He also serves on the board of California FarmLink, established in 1999, which has created a statewide program of economic development support for beginning, limited-resource, immigrant and other underserved farmers across the state.

Jennifer Vazquez-Koster will speak on “Beginning a Local Food System at the Meskwaki Settlement” at 4:00 p.m. and Thomas Nelson will speak on "Community-based Strategies to Scale Up Sustainable Food Systems" at 7:30 p.m.  Both presentations are in Joe Rosenfield Center ’25 101.  Refreshments will be served.  Sponsored by the Grinnell College Center for Prairie Studies.

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.

A Closer Look at the Iowa Prairie: Photographs by Justin Hayworth

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - 3:00pm to Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 12:00am

August 17 – October 11, 2015
Burling Gallery

At one time prairie dominated the Iowa landscape.  Now, less than 0.1% of the original Iowa prairie remains. Justin Hayworth’s macro photographs invite viewers to take a closer look at the beauty of prairie plants, celebrate the intricate aesthetics of prairie life, and teach about the unintended consequences of development.

Gallery Talk & Reception: Justin Hayworth and Jon Andelson—A Closer Look
September 2, 4:00 p.m. 
Burling Gallery

Justin Hayworth, Grinnell College photographer, and Jon Andelson, director,  Center for Prairie Studies, will talk about the loss of the Iowa prairie, the importance of close observation, and the aesthetics of prairie life celebrated through macro photography. Reception with refreshments to follow.

Macro Photography Workshop
September 4, 4 – 6 p.m. (rain date: September 11)
Burling Gallery, Grinnell College campus

Macro photography is the art of producing photographs of small objects larger than life size. Explore the campus with Grinnell College photographer Justin Hayworth and learn to photograph nature up close. Bring a camera of any sort (DSLR, point & shoot, cell phone). Grinnell students, faculty, and staff can check out cameras from the AV Center. All experience levels welcome. 

Exhibition and events co-sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies and Faulconer Gallery.

Free and open to the public. Burling Gallery 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., 7 days a week. Lower level of Burling Library, 1111 Avenue, Grinnell.