Season 5, Episode 4

Family Cookbook for Fun, Wellbeing, and Better Nutrition

featuring Casey McManus

The “Cooking Together Cookbook” is a response to child nutrition challenges that supports an environment where children and parents can learn and enjoy cooking activities together with the goal of improving child/parent relationships, child mental health, and nutrition. Casey McManus created the cookbook as her Capstone project by first examining existing literature for the obstacles that children face in accessing nutritional food. Inspired by the scholarship, she created 16 seasonally inspired recipes and activities that emphasize sensory learning and food literacy components to engage children and their families in fun ways to celebrate nutritious and inspired collaborative cooking.

Casey has experience in many facets of the food system, from agricultural research and food science extension work to baker and cook at establishments in the Finger Lakes region of the US. . Combining her passion for cooking, savoring the flavors of the season, art, and connecting to community, Casey’s Capstone project  is titled “ Family Cookbook for Fun, Wellbeing, and  Better Nutrition”

It’s a response to child nutrition challenges that supports an environment where children and parents can learn and enjoy cooking activities together with the goal of improving child/parent relationships, child mental health, and nutrition.

Season 5, Episode 3

Supporting Food Sovereignty with Social Media

featuring Kit Laux

Indigenous people around the world are initiating food sovereignty movements to regain control of their food systems. The globalized industrial food system has increased the disconnection from traditional foodways and knowledge and has increased the risks of diet-related diseases. Kit Laux examines the food sovereignty movement as one that can build resiliency and reconnect people to nutritious and culturally appropriate food. As a member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community on the L’Anse Indian Reservation in Michigan, she describes for her Capstone how Native American tribes throughout the nation are implementing food sovereignty initiatives to increase control of their food systems linking to culture, health, and economic development. Her project’s goal is to increase visibility and awareness of food sovereignty topics specific to her bioregion by developing a website that will share information and provide links to resources that support regaining control of a more traditional food system. Her research points to social media as a proven and effective tool to distribute information widely and quickly throughout her target community. The website she created is drawing on a wide variety of marketing metrics and data analytics to create impact indicators as a strategy for success.

Kit Laux lives in the small town of L'Anse, located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She currently works for the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College as the Project Director for the College’s Tribal Extension and Equity Programs. Part of her work is focused on providing community-based educational opportunities with topics pertaining to food. Prior to working at the College, Kit spent 10 years working in the Water Resources Program for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Natural Resources Department. Throughout this experience, she learned of various food items that were traditionally harvested or gathered by her Ojibwa ancestors. While this topic did not seem directly pertinent to the water program, she gained a deeper appreciation for the connection between all our natural resources and their relevance to each other. It occurred to her that additional educational resources and opportunities may be needed to spark curiosity in others to help (re)build connections with Mother Earth. This has been a driving focus of her education, career focus, and capstone!

Season 5, Episode 2

Food Bank Relationships Help During COVID-19

featuring Bianca Garcia

One of the impacts of COVID-19 was a dramatic rise in unemployment, and with that, increases in food insecurity experienced by those in Bianca Garcia’s hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada. Noting how Three Square, Southern Nevada’s only food bank, managed to pivot effectively to cope with the increased need, Bianca became interested in what enabled the organization to respond quickly and efficiently. For her Capstone, she provides a case study of Three Square and its response to rapid changes in the need to provide food to the region. She compares the Three Square model to three other organizations doing similar work on various scales and examines the social network of Three Square to provide analysis and recommendations on best practices.

Bianca Garcia was born in raised in Las Vegas, NV--originally home to people of southern Paiute tribes. Before going to college, Bianca was in the Army for almost four years as a cook or “food service specialist.” Once she got out of the military in 2013, Bianca saw a documentary named “Hungry for Change” that completely changed her outlook on food. Now, in May 2022 she earned her master’s degree in Sustainable Food Systems at Prescott College. Currently, Bianca is a full-time mother and will begin to look for work in her field soon--she hopes to be part of the change that helps guide the trajectory of our current food system in a different direction, like more regenerative agriculture and local food systems. Her ultimate goal in life is to own her own farm with a range of vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs surrounded by cannabis. While she admits that she needs to test more for herself, she believes that cannabis is there to support the health of the plants with its terpenes and most likely reduce the number of pests. However, because this goal is in the distant future, she will continue to focus on getting her foot in the door and gaining as much experience as she can wherever she lands.

Season 5, Episode 1

Creating City-wide Composting

featuring Bryanna Hopple

Learning that the City Council of Dover, New Hampshire was eager to become a leader in sustainable community development by considering a start-up city-wide composting system, Bryanna Hopple conducted a feasibility study to provide local officials with the information, and implementation actions to get them started. The study was conducted using a variety of methods including personal interviews, data analysis, and economic forecasting. The results of Bryanna’s Capstone include the essential considerations, recommendations, reflections, costs, and benefits for a city-wide compost system at scale, with additional commendations for the value of the project as a means to create meaningful partnerships and collaborations with regional food system experts, organizations, and businesses.

Before joining the M.S. program in Sustainable Food Systems, Bryanna Hopple obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Sustainable Community Development from Prescott College with an emphasis in Sustainable Food Systems and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science with an emphasis in Earth Science. She has been involved in many aspects of agricultural work over the past five years including compost management, production-scaled agriculture, home gardening, educational agriculture, food preservation, and livestock handling. For her Capstone, Bryanna chose to expand on her undergraduate interest in composting systems She has dedicated much of her educational experience at Prescott College to fulfilling the needs of a sustainable community food system and this desire has now transferred to her new post-graduation home of Dover, New Hampshire.

Joining us in the conversation is Bryanna’s Capstone Advisor, Dr. Liz Snyder.