Food Culture During a Pandemic in Boonville, IN and Across the US

Picture book by Lindsey Wilson

Visit this link to view picture book

Eating is not only an essential requirement for life, it is integral in many cultures, connects people, and is an outlet for self-expression. When the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, nearly everything about our daily routines were changed and that includes the food culture. In this digital picture book, I present the food culture experienced by the people of my hometown, Boonville, IN, in the past year. I aimed to answer the question, “How did the role of food in culture change during the pandemic?” through a collection of pictures and data charts inspired by my research.

Many other studies have taken a global or national look at the role of food during the pandemic. I found several datasets that used surveys to look at the popularity of certain food-related behaviors compared to the development and distribution of COVID-19 cases, from which I drew inspiration from for my personal investigations. I interviewed a handful of people from Boonville and compared their responses to the trends observed in larger studies. I learned
that many people, in Boonville and across the US, are cooking more often and enjoying more meals with others in their households. While some of my interviewees asked to remain anonymous, my family volunteered to provide picture evidence of them participating in the food-related behaviors they described. Boonville, a small and rural town, also experienced increased food insecurity for many local families. Other studies show that food insecurity has been heightened by the pandemic in similar rural areas across the US. The findings of this study support that our food behaviors are greatly impacted by our environment.

Marco Ginanneschi said it best that food can be a “mirror of society”. Our eating habits typically reflect other aspects of our lives such as our access to quality food, our busy schedules, and even our emotions. Food consumption, whether in excess, too little, or of poor nutritional value, can greatly affect the health of a community, so it is important to understand relationships with food so we can work towards eliminating food insecurity and promote healthy, happy living.

References


Ginanneschi, Marco. “The Future of Food after Covid-19 through the Lens of Anthropology.” Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development , 2020, 1–3. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2020.094.027 .

Hartman Group. “COVID-19’s Impact on Eating.” 2020. https://www.hartman-group.com/documents/888213358 .

Mayasari, Noor Rohmah, Dang Khanh Ho, David J. Lundy, Anatoly V. Skalny, Alexey A. Tinkov, I-Chun Teng, Meng-Chieh Wu, et al. “Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Food Security and Diet-Related Lifestyle Behaviors: An Analytical Study of Google Trends-Based Query Volumes.” Nutrients 12, no. 10 (2020): 3103. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12103103 .

Rodriguez, Rosalie M., and Kamini Maraj Grahame. “Understanding Food Access in a Rural Community.” Food, Culture & Society 19, no. 1 (2016): 171–94. https://doi.org/10.1080/15528014.2016.1145010

Squires, Wyatt. “WCSC to Continue Offering Free Meals.” The Warrick County Standard. December 24, 2020.

Wilson, Lindsey. Eating Habits During the Pandemic. Personal Interviews, March 20, 2021.

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