Play With Your Food January UpdateJan 15, 2022
Ryan Lavallee, Major: Music with an Emphasis in Recording Arts, Minor: Leadership Studies
Julianna M Wright, Major: Biology with Pre-MD and Pre-PhD, Minors: Leadership Studies, Chemistry, and Computer Science, Certificate: Biochemistry
Jamie Young, Major: Environmental Science with an Emphasis in GPS/GIS, Minor: Leadership Studies
“Play With Your Food” was born from the CU Denver University Honors and Leadership (UHL) program’s year long senior seminar based around food justice. The interdisciplinary nature and cohort model of the UHL program enables collaboration across multiple colleges and study areas to bring more perspectives to the table when addressing issues like food security and sustainability. To demonstrate a new model of necessary public re-education, our team will be creating a fully functional, vertical, and modularized hydroponic system with a reactive sound and light environment. Our novel approach to systemized growing incentivises people with or without agricultural experience to engage with a dynamic interface that simplifies hydroponic processes. The system, along with interactive educational content, will be shown off as an installation on our campus in hopes of starting a conversation about alternatives to the agriculture industry that brutally harms people, animals, and the planet. We ultimately want to create a proof of concept for a scaleable, engaging, functional art piece and increase awareness and desire for vertical farming practices that will be vital for a more healthy and sustainable future.
Putting our interests and knowledge sets together has proven to be constantly inspiring, thought-provoking, and exciting. We were able to develop such an all encompassing plan to address food injustice by merging our academic backgrounds of environmental science, biology, chemistry, computer science, audio, art, geography, and leadership. Jamie, a master of plant growing, is mostly focusing on resource management to ensure that we save water, space, and time with our hydroponic system, rather than making a more aesthetically pleasing version of industrial agriculture. Julianna brings her care and love for human health and wellbeing to the table, focusing on addressing the impacts of poor health that comes from our largely nutritionally-lacking foods that we consume everyday. Combining their fields of study means that we can find comprehensive solutions that work for everyone and increase the level of nutrients found in our food while decreasing the amount of resources required to create the nutrients. We realize that we can’t feed everyone off of what we create, so one of our major aspects of the project is based on engaging people with an exciting interactive art piece and educating participants on the systems that they unknowingly feed and how to make a positive change. An art piece is a better way to get people’s attention than any paper we could write or post that we could share, so Ryan is focused on creating an experience through sound and light that connects people with their food and their health. Alone, we could not complete a project like this, but together we come up with new ideas to improve upon our plans everyday. Our first semester of cooperative researching and brainstorming has led us to find not only what to teach, but how to teach it in a meaningful capacity. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to branch out from our coursework, step outside of our comfort zones, and bring our minds together to lead a new movement in food justice.