It does not involve our alumni, at least yet, but it comes to me through Professor Kelley's link to the Fulbright Scholar community. And, I just contacted the women involved so I can make a connection for our Program.
The Pickle Project was spearheaded by two Fulbright Research Fellows, Sarah Crow and Linda Norris. Both had the opportunity to live in Ukraine, a fascinating country with rich food and agricultural traditions. Building upon their experiences, Sarah and Linda have developed the project as a "multifaceted effort that observes Ukrainian foodways and traditions, using them as a lens for exploring sustainability, community and change."
The recent designation of several foods and food practices by UNESCO as “intangible cultural heritage of humanity” illustrates a growing recognition of the importance of food and food systems. For food is not merely a commodity but also a symbol of identity and a direct reflection of the human condition and our natural environment. As noted food scholar Marion Nestle suggests, food makes abstractions real and the political personal (2009). This arena of research is underdeveloped in Ukraine, a nation, landscape and culture with an intimate and rich history related to food production, scarcity, diversity and identity.
Professor Kelley was a Fulbright Scholar in Ukraine five years ago, and his experiences there led to rich connections with this fascinating country and its wonderful people. From my visits and our Ukrainian friends, I can attest to the intimate connections and the culture associated with Ukrainian food. Sarah and Linda may really be on to something here - particularly, as Ukraine's rich agricultural land comes under increased pressure for foreign control.The Pickle Project ventures to illuminate those connections in contemporary Ukraine, through personal stories, profiles and recipes, and share them with diverse audiences using multiple vehicles. These include social media, The Pickle Project blog, Twitter (you can follow us @PickleProject) and Facebook networks but also through the development of innovative traveling exhibitions and programs, that would tour the United States and Ukraine. This suite of methods is designed to stimulate community conversations about the interesting and increasingly relevant issues of food, culture and sustainability.
In addition to following the links above, check out their Kickstarter page. They are raising funds for the project and are close to their goal - although they have a February 1 deadline. I just became a supporter, and on behalf of our program, I will reach out to Sarah and Linda. Watch for further updates!