About Us

What is the mission of Great Plains Foodways Connection?

The Connection is dedicated to preserving and celebrating cuisine and its historic, social and cultural traditions (historic foodways) in Kansas and other Great Plains states.

What is the study of foodways?

In a nutshell, foodways is eating habits and culinary practices of a people, region, or historical period. Food ways goes beyond sustenance, recipes and taste. The journal Food and Foodways evokes the scope of the term: Foodways “explores the powerful but often subtle ways in which food has shaped, and shapes, our lives socially, economically, politically, mentally, nutritionally, and morally. Because food is a pervasive social phenomenon, it cannot be approached by any one discipline.”

Why preserve and celebrate foodways, historic or otherwise?

Kansas has a rich and diverse food heritage. The state’s contributions to the American culinary tapestry range magnificently from wheat (Kansas is the No. 1 wheat producer in the nation) to artisan cheese, from heirloom turkey to buffalo roasts, from sunflower products to gooseberry pies. These take Kansas soil, Kansas folk and Kansas know-how, all precious commodities that only grow in value.

What are our goals?

Since every Kansan eats – and has a food heritage – we believe every Kansan is a stakeholder in this project. Producers, especially the “boutique” growers and makers, want to sell more products be they bacon or cinnamon rolls. Hungry travelers seek out new, interesting places to eat. We gather information, study and share it. Others use it. We all benefit.

Academically we will offer graduate students opportunities for original scholarship related to foodways; give undergraduate students experience in research, writing, communications technology and more; and provide framework for application of current and future faculty research and expertise.

Most important, however, we want to tell Kansas food stories. The stories reflect politics, economics, science, literature, geography, religion, values, gender roles, ethnicity and race. They are stories about families.

How will the Connection accomplish its mission?

We will accomplish our mission through scholarship and education. The site is a gathering place for research and for stories.

Food, after all, is about connection.