Join Missouri Humanities around the table as we consider the role food plays in shaping our society—how it connects us to each other, to our own pasts and identities, to our Midwest roots, and to the world around us.

Together we will host conversations that explore Missouri’s foodways and culinary traditions to celebrate the breadth and depth of Missouri’s cultural heritage, natural environment, history, and the relationship between food and the human experience.

“Inside even the smallest bite of food exists a complex world of fascinating interconnections.” -Andrew Adkins
"Won't You Feed My Neighbor?"
A Short Film About Missouri’s Movement Toward Food Security

Food can symbolize connection, celebration, and unity, but food is not created equal. Access to fresh and nutritional food is an issue faced across generations and throughout the world. Here in the Show-Me State, both urban and rural Missourians struggle with food insecurity, finding themselves in so-called “food deserts,” or areas of low income with low access to fresh food resources such as a full-service grocery store. With this in mind, Missouri Humanities embarked on a mission to seek out answers to two questions: What does food insecurity look like in Missouri, and what’s being done to address it?

“Won’t You Feed My Neighbor?” highlights several organizations and individuals throughout the state dedicated to improving food access and providing resources in their communities, regions, and beyond. Their creative strategies, commitment to educating others, and passion for helping their neighbors reinforces hope for a more secure, sustainable food system here in Missouri. 

Eat, THINK, and Be Merry: The Podcast

The Eat, THINK, & Be Merry Podcast, part of our 2022 Signature Series, features “food thinkers” and other special guests with exciting, inspiring, and down-right delicious stories that consider the role food plays in shaping our society–how it connects us to each other, to our own pasts and identities, and to the world around us. 

This podcast will host conversations that explore Missouri’s foodways and edible history to celebrate the breadth and depth of Missouri’s cultural heritage, natural environment, and the relationship between food and the human experience. 

We invite you to feed your mind and join us “around the table” as we dig into food-related themes presented through a humanities lens.

Past Events:

Regenerative Agriculture: The Future of Missouri Farming

On Feb 16th, we explored agriculture in Missouri—its economic importance and legacy, and community efforts to adopt new practices to create more resilient farming and food systems. 

In partnership with University of Missouri’s Center for Regenerative Agriculture we discussed why “regenerative agriculture” is a buzzword in farming these days—what it is, why it’s all the buzz, and what it means for the future of farming. 

We showcased how agriculture impacts our communities, our everyday lives, and meet two very different Missouri farmers as they shared their stories of why and how they are incorporating regenerative principles and practices on their farms.

Missouri Humanities’ 5th Annual Symposium

On April 20st & 21nd, the Missouri Humanities hosted its 5th Annual Symposium, “Humanities and Food: Sustenance & Sustainability in Our Communities.” This year’s symposim focused on the ways that sustainable and local food growing and sharing builds community, heals the earth, and sustains connection and collaboration. Discussions featured topics such as historic food utopias in America, agriculture and economic growth, and the ways that regional identities are embedded in the practices of creating sustenance for the community.   

“Eating the Ozarks: Hiking, Humanities, & Foraging Tour”

On Friday, May 20th, we “foraged” new friends on our “Eating the Ozarks: Hiking, Humanities, & Foraging Tour” led by Rachael West of Eating the Ozarks!

Rachael West (along with Ambrose the Cat) took us around her land and taught us about seasonal wild edible foods & herbal medicines—and how foraged foods and herbs relate to place, history, foodways, and our state’s natural heritage.

After our short hike, we gathered on Rachael’s back deck to taste the season with forage-based snacks and sip on wild tea.

“Foraging” Friends Membership Social: “Drinking Ozark History” 

On May 25th, we were joined by new and long-time friends at our membership social hosted in partnership with Chef Rob Connoley of the renowned Bulrush restaurant in St. Louis.

Guests learned about historic Ozark bars from 1837, 1864, and 1910— and how drinking evolved during the formation of the region. Guests were invited to taste three drinks that included foraged ingredients and were crafted from this historic research.  

This program was made possible in partnership with Missouri Humanities, KCUR 89.3, and UMKC.

Hungry for Trivia

Do you know the name of the Missourian with the nickname, “the peanut guy?” Can you name the Kansas City company who introduced the crock-pot? Did you know that two Missourians helped save the global wine industry?

Thank you to KCUR’s Natasha Bailey and Jenny Vergara for being a part of our Trivia Launch Party for Season Two of “Hungry for MO,” a podcast that brings you the stories behind iconic foods in the state of Missouri.

Food for Thought: Archaeology and the Study of Food

Archaeologists often search for answers about the people they study by trying to make sense of the bits and pieces those people left behind. Some archaeologists do this by exploring food! By closely examining animal bones, probing plant remains and residues, studying traditions and recipes, or even thinking about cookware, food storage, or what people ate their food off of, archaeologists work to come to the very heart of what it means to be human.

On October 27, 2022, a panel of experts— Dr. Kathryn Sampeck, Dr. Terrance Martin, and Dr. Susan Kooiman— dug into the whys and wherefores of studying food with archaeology. 

Ganohalidasdi. Hohigisik. Gatlisodi.
[Hunt. Fish. Gather.]

On Thursday, November 3rd we joined together for a traditional cooking demonstration and discussion with Chef Nephi Craig (Apache/Navajo), a part of 2022 Hunt. Fish. Gather. The demonstration took place in Risa Commons in Zetcher House at Washington University in St. Louis. 

2022 Hunt. Fish. Gather. is presented by Missouri Humanities, The Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies, and Washington University Dining Services. Hunt. Fish. Gather. partners with students, educators, community members, and tribal entities to provide an understanding of traditional American Indian and Alaska Native lifestyles through discussion, research, and immersive programs.

Eat, THINK, & Be Merry Monthly Program Themes

“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.” – Anthony Michael Bourdain

Upcoming Events

To view MO Humanities Calendar Events, including 2022 Signature Series Events, visit our calendar.