By Charles A. Peterson, Newark Advocate, 2/14/15
GRANVILLE – Granville High School environmental studies students and a C-TEC Licking County visual communications class are working together on a graphic arts project they hope will end up on Capitol Hill.
Saturday at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Conference in Granville, the student teams manned a Pop-Up Gallery Show to exhibit the fruits of their labor on seven posters depicting local sustainable foods and farming efforts.
The “fruits” of the students’ efforts had a lot to do with the chief theme for the conference, “Sustainable Agriculture: Renewing Ohio’s Heart and Soil.”
The students of Granville environmental studies teacher Jim Reding conducted the research, and the C-TEC class taught by Jennifer Evans Kinsley turned that information into marketing posters.
The project is being conducted through Project Localize, a nationwide food literacy initiative through the California-based Lexicon of Sustainability. Lexicon is an organization that shows teachers and students how to identify, promote and involve themselves in sustainable economic, cultural and social progress in their communities.
The student teams generated seven colorful 48-inch by 32-inch posters displayed at the conference.
Kinsley called the experience an “authentic experience on how to work for a client and a creative team.”
“It’s providing real-life experiences working with a client and working in a design team,” she said, noting that 80 percent of the art careers her students could end up in are in marketing and advertising. “I could not replicate this in the classroom.”
Reding said his students were nominated by Farm to School program to be involved in Project Sustainability. They started the process last year by studying local sustainable food systems and carried the project over to this year.
Students had lists of farmers, food processors and other key stakeholders to visit in central Ohio to begin their research.
“We did a schoolwide field trip to all of these locations,” he said of those represented on the posters. “They interviewed the individuals after doing research and coming up with their questions.”
After taking photos and writing the text, Reding said, “We turned it over to Mrs. Kinsley’s students, who put the posters in place.”
The visual arts students used a template provided by Lexicon to produce the posters. A key challenge was taking numerous photos — as many as 80 — and knitting them together on the poster to make them look like one single photo.
“There’s close to 30 or 40 hours of work on the final posters,” Reding said, all approved by Lexicon.
C-TEC student Grant Harris, of Lakewood High School, helped assemble numerous photos to create a poster depicting the Greener Grocer at the North Market in Columbus.
“I’ve always liked the atmosphere of the North Market,” he said. “Everybody gets together to show their foods and their culture.”
Granville students Bailey Blanchard and Emily Pitcher provided the text and photos.
“What we wanted to drive home here was that (the Greener Grocer) follows a value-driven system,” Blanchard said. Those values, listed on the poster, are “nutrient dense,” “organic” and “affordable.”
Closer to home, Granville students Conner Wallace and Maddy Richardson chose Snapshots Lounge in Granville, where owner Lucas Atwood uses locally grown food and will plant his own garden behind the lounge this spring to grow produce for his menu.
“All food served is sourced within a 3-mile radius of Licking County as part of the ’30-mile meal movement,’ ” states the poster featuring Atwood and his chef, Drew Spurlock.
“They’re trying very hard to locally source their food,” Reding said of Snapshots. “They really tie into that whole idea of community supported agriculture.”
Another poster, headed “Student led and student fed,” featured the Granville High School garden and greenhouse behind the school, maintained by Reding’s classes.
“We walk outside and work in the garden, then come back in to class,” environmental studies student Tyler Thomas told an onlooker.
Kinsley said food and farm association officials offered to host the students’ first Pop-Up Gallery as part of their 36th annual conference, which featured 100 educational workshops, a trade show and locally sourced and organic from-scratch meals. Between 1,100 and 1,200 were registered to attend, an association spokesperson said.
The student teams will learn May 1 whether their posters make it to the nation’s capital, Reding said.
“Events like this weigh in to that,” he said.