The Story of Food

This Creative Inquiry (CI) focused on regenerative agriculture, recipe development, and community nutrition. The students individually researched a locally grown heirloom vegetable. Their research included how the food item was grown (seasonality, duration, etc.), the impact it had on soil health (i.e., nitrogen depleting or nitrogen fixating), where it originated (region, family farms, etc.), its traditional uses (food, medicinal, or ceremonial), and its unique properties (flavor, taste, appearance, texture, and smell). Additionally, they created plant-based and health conscious recipes with their assigned heirloom variety. After weeks of research, the students then presented their findings via PowerPoint presentations.

To assist with student learning and research, they spoke with local farmers, chefs, and organizations that grew heirloom varieties. These individuals shared their farming practices (focusing in regenerative agriculture) and views surrounding locally grown heirloom varieties.


To conduct their research, students conducted private research on their assigned heirloom food item and collaborated with local farmers, organizations, and chefs. These students used a series of nutrition analysis software, like the Genesis R&D Food Formulation & Labeling Software, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) database, and others.


The students had created 21 recipes during the fall 2020 section and 13 recipes during the spring 2021 semester.

Below are slides from Emily Martin, Mary Nimmer, and Ellen McAlpine.

“I think this is a very good course that teaches the importance of community. Once I have started on my career I would try and make decisions based on the local impact to the community as well as being aware of what my community has to offer.”

“I am going into dietetics and I feel this CI has helped me so much learn more about food, farming, sustainability, and the future of food and nutrition. I think having this background will help me be more well rounded in the future.”

“Cheryl Lecroy was my favorite guest speaker this semester because she provided a unique insight to how food has changed her life. She was very knowledgeable about gardening and incorporating local produce into your diet. I also appreciated the feedback from Chad Carter on our recipes. He too is very knowledgeable and skilled at what he does so it was nice to hear what he had to offer us.”

Mill Village Farms is a local organization that provides fresh produce boxes, youth programs (focusing on regenerative agriculture), and practices a multitude of sustainable farm practices, like hydroponics. A representative from this organization spoke with this CI.