Sunday, December 16, 2012

ThinkKit D16: 2012 Found Me Learning About Food And Community

ThinkKit: THINKToday, we reflect and write about what we've learned this year.  I for one, have had a successful 2012.  About this time last year, I was winding down my graduate degree and had gotten into the rhythm of allocating a few hours a week to some personal projects.  So, I sought out a couple of different opportunities to keep exploring, learning, and building on my experiences.

I learned a little more about our local food system.  I volunteered for Food Con 3, an event that weaves together food and art.  Sponsored by the Harrison Center for the Arts and Butler University, volunteering for the event allowed me to meet and work with some of the unique food players in our community including aquaponics aficionados, composting services, urban farmers, and a guy with a really unique hydroponics setup.  I also got a chance to learn a little about event planning.  While the rain dampened the turnout, it was still a success and I learned a lot.    

I also gained some exposure to the complexities around childhood obesity.  I, along with a few friends and fellow graduate students at IUPUI, performed ethnographic participant observation at an area summer fitness day camp.  We embedded ourselves with preteen campers and their counselors as they embraced the difficult task of understanding and addressing the campers' obesity.  The stories we collected from the campers were enlightening, to say the least.  I can't speak too much about it as we were working with minors and it is an ongoing academic research project that demands anonymity.  While I only scratched  the surface of understanding this epidermic, I gained greater context and understanding. We are currently writing a research paper and when it is completed, I'll be able to share more detail.  As a nice bonus to this project, I gained more grant writing experience as our group wrote a grant that was accepted and provided funding for the project and the non-profit with which we partnered with.

So, my 2012 was full of new learning opportunities, even things I haven't really discussed in this post.  That is, my day job doing user experience at a corporate web development shop (I'll save that for a future post).  I've got some real momentum and am excited to see what 2013 brings.

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