Sandy Rikoon has a lot on his proverbial plate. His work is hard to pigeonhole, except to say that, in general, it’s grounded in concern over both people and the environment. Since his academic discipline in rural sociology lives “at the intersection of basic and applied research,” it is the pursuit of “seamless connections” between his research, teaching, and outreach activities that drives Rikoon’s work.
Few people see much in common between candy and cocaine, aside from their identical first letters. Not so for Matt Will, Assistant Professor of Psychology. Will’s current research equates our cravings for fatty, high calorie foods with serious drug abuse.
Folklorist, sociologist, and environmentalist, Sandy Rikoon runs the environmental sociology program in the Department of Rural Sociology, where he teaches graduate courses in environmental sociology, advises students, and does research in the area of environmental sociology.
Hardin gives a tour of what will become MU’s state-of-the-art metabolic kitchen. Although the space in the basement of the Nutritional Sciences building is currently full of old rat cages and unusable lab equipment, Hardin envisions shiny countertops and places to package food. He also hopes to be able to record cooking demonstrations and investigate the way children select their food.
After two years of volunteering in a foreign community, the returned Peace Corps Fellows now turn their attention to a service project in the local community. Convening to discuss their vision and mission, the group gathered ideas about possible community service projects. “And one of the things we agreed upon was that we were interested in food—not a surprise for Peace Corps folks,” Craig Hutton said.
After many months of meeting with key organizations in Columbia, the Peace Corps Fellows identified food security as the issue to be addressed. Partnering with Sustainable Farms and Communities (SFC), a local nongovernmental organization, they plan to implement a research project in order to assess food security in Columbia. The group has been working with key community leaders –from non-governmental organizations and churches to businesses and city government—to design a survey to assess food security. When the survey is finished, it will be used by SFC to apply for a grant to build a pavilion on the site of the Columbia Farmer’s Market, which will function as a community center hosting health, cooking, and nutrition classes.