HWS students have contributed to our understanding of the local, regional, and global food system through research. This listing includes individual, group, and class research projects motivated by student inquiry. If you would like to contribute supportive documents for the listed student research, please contact smeyer@hws.edu.


Luke Connolly '15; German Area Studies Blocker Fellow '13
Title: "Cultures of Food"
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Hillary Monahan '14; Environmental Studies Honors Project
Title: "Negotiating with Nature: A Study of Genetic Modification in Food Production and its Effects on Amish Agriculture"
Description: Is it possible for Amish communities to incorporate biotechnology into their agricultural practices while still maintaining the integrity of their belief system? What are the environmental impacts that come with such widespread use of genetically modified (GM) seeds? How do we determine if these GM crops are inherently good or bad? My Honors thesis seeks to answer these questions from both an ecological and an anthropological perspective. Genetically modified food is inherently controversial. As biotech companies push the supposed benefits of altering genes in crops to breed for desirable traits and higher yields, we must step back and consider the potential long-term consequences regarding environmental and human health. The fact that biotechnology has made its way onto Amish farmland in the United States arguably provides evidence for loss of culture in a society that prides itself on resistance to assimilation and modern technology. By way of personal visits with the Schwartz family of Schwartz Farm in Waterloo, NY, I have conducted ongoing interviews to gain first-hand knowledge of the agricultural practices and beliefs of this commercial farm that produces and sells GM crops. I compare these findings with a neighboring farm that is owned by a Schwartz relative who runs an organic operation entirely rid of GM seeds and pesticides. By observing the practices of these two farms, taking into consideration the backgrounds of each family, religious beliefs, income levels, and cultural circumstances, I ultimately gain insight on the negotiations involved with Amish agriculture when faced with the capitalist market system.
Adviser: Christopher Annear
[Direct Link] [
File Not Found
File Not Found

Jackson Bartell '14, Brent Clarke '14, Alice Theibault '14; Environmental Studies Senior Integrative Experience
Title: "HWS Farm: Growing Greens and Going Green"
Description:The Colleges were recently donated a 35-acre plot of agricultural land less than a mile from campus. The Environmental Studies capstone senior project, ENV 301, is focused on creating a comprehensive plan for the land that would facilitate interdisciplinary academic work and involve the greater Geneva community. The capstone class split into small groups focused on different aspects of the possibility of the property. Our group is focused on polyculture cultivation and implementing greenhouses on the property. Our plan will involve student workers and communit members maintaining the crops year-round. Our program would incorporate a soil amendment known as Biochar as a research opportunity for science courses and example of an organic, sustainable farming practice for local farmers. Our polyculture program is compiled from ideas contributed by faculty stakeholders, community experts, and existing college farms in order to create a multi-faceted plan that will forever enhance the HWS curriculum, enrich the Geneva community, and create new potentials for sustainable collaboration and the spread of knowledge.
Adviser: Tom Drennen and Beth Kinne
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Dylan Corbett '14, Kayleigh Gregory '14, Alex Roberts '14; Environmental Studies Senior Integrative Experience
Title: "HWS Farm: Composting"
Description: Hobart and William Smith Colleges recently purchased the Fribolin Farm, a 38-acre farm located on White Springs Lane. As part of the environmental studies senior capstone, we are creating a proposal for various land uses for the farm. Working with other groups that are assessing other potential uses for the land and buildings, our group is specifically focused on the feasibility of a medium-to-large composting operation that involves the use of compost collected at the Colleges from Saga, the Cafe, and the Cellar Pub. To develop this plan, we have conducted research on other college’s composting programs, local large scale composting facilities, and reached out to members of the Colleges as well as others in the community that have experience with composting. We will continue to reach out to members of the community, companies that provide composting equipment, and on-campus resources to develop a logical and feasible composting operation on the farm. At the end of our research we will have a firm proposal that is feasible and logical to present to President Gearan and the farm committee.
Adviser: Tom Drennen and Beth Kinne
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Thomas Fiorentino '14, Jane Rew '14; Environmental Studies Senior Integrative Experience
Title: "HWS's New Farm: Getting the Food To You"
Description: A 38-acre farm was recently donated to Hobart and William Smith Colleges on White Springs Lane. As part of the environmental studies senior capstone course, we are creating land use proposals for the farm that will be synthesized with projects by others in our ENV capstone course into a comprehensive plan. Working in conjunction with the group assessing possible sustainable farming methods, our group will focus on the distribution of food that may be grown on the property. To do this research, we have identified and examined other college farm models, studied current community infrastructure, and interviewed local producers, experts, and members of the HWS community. We will contact HWS’ current food distributer, Sodexo, as well as further explore the Geneva community’s ideas about the farm. Interesting proposals might be a possible partnership with a local community supported agriculture (CSA), as well as a campus/community-wide vegetable truck. Our class’s comprehensive plan will be presented to President Gearan and the Fribolin Farm committee.
Adviser: Tom Drennen and Beth Kinne
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Lelia Barden '14, Katie Paige '14; Environmental Studies Senior Integrative Experience
Title: "Farmester: A Semester Abroad in Geneva, NY"
Description: We will be presenting a proposal for a semester-long program at Fribolin Farm, on White Springs Lane in Geneva. This “Farmester” will provide the opportunity for 8-10 students to live and work on a 38-acre farm. The full four-credit course load will include two relevant classes, in addition to both a group and individual project. With an emphasis on sustainability, the program will focus on problems and solutions in current ecological, economic, and social systems around the world. Students of all disciplines would be invited to apply for this unique program, which would one of the first of its kind across the country. Modern approaches
to agriculture, such as green house technology and experimental seed crossings, will be some of the core foundations of this program. The mission of this project is to provide students with the opportunity to gain practical skills in food and agricultural research through hands-on experience. This will be a business friendly program with a goal of working with local farmers on matters such as crop diversity and food security. The crops will be cultivated for the personal and college use, but will not be competing against local farmers. The Farmester would offer an enriching experience, and would encourage a small yet strong community full of ideas and knowledge. This proposal is the culmination of research into similar programs, as well as input from students, faculty and staff at the Colleges. We aim to create a plan that could be implemented by Spring 2016.
Adviser: Tom Drennen and Beth Kinne
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Cornelia Lindecke '14; Environmental Studies Senior Integrative Experience
Title: "HWS's New Farm: A White Springs History"
Description: As part of the Environmental Studies SIE class, we have divided up into groups in order to put fourth a proposal for the newly purchased property known as White Springs Farm. Although as a class we are focusing on the future of this land, the goal of my project is to document and present the past history of this property. In essence, the project will answer, “what is the history of White Springs Farm?” In order to present the history of the property, I interviewed the previous landowner, Carl Fribolin. In addition to the interview, I researched in the Geneva Historical Society, utilized the HWS Archives as a resource, and interviewed local
businesses such as Belhurst Castle and White Springs Winery. Beginning with in the early 1800’s with the first owner of the property, John Nicholas all the way up tothe previous owner Carl Fribolin, the video tells the story of why White Springs Farm is recognized as such a landmark agricultural enterprise. Once the video is complete, it will serve as a source that documents the history of White Springs Farm.
Adviser: Tom Drennen and Beth Kinne
[Direct Link] [PDF]

William Weimer '14, Haleigh Marshall '14; Environmental Studies Senior Integrative Experience
Title: "Getting our Hands Dirty: Real-World Experience at Fribolin Farm"
Description:Hobart and William Smith recently received a donation of a 38-acre plot of land that sits less than a mile away from campus. As part of the Environmental Studies capstone course, we were tasked with coming up with proposals regarding the utilization of the space, with the overarching goal of integrating both the Colleges and the Geneva community. Because there was such diversity in regard to potential proposals, our class split into groups and focused on the most realistic options.
Our project focuses on the physical and mechanical changes necessary to develop three diverse initiatives: soil plot research sites, biodiversity and conservation
areas, and a large kitchen suitable for use in food classes and community programs. These three proposed developments are disparate, but serve a demand fo experiential learning. By researching other schools that had projects of similar scale, visiting local sites, and conversing with community members from both HWS and Geneva, we were able to grasp which ideas would be successful and which ones would not. By equipping the property with the necessary components, we aspire to create an extension of campus to allow students to apply their skills in a "real-world" situation, facilitate biodiversity and conservation research, provide information to local farmers about changing agricultural practices, and create an educational resource to both HWS and Geneva community members. Our end result will be a detailed, comprehensive plan that will be presented to the President’s Fribolin property committee.
Adviser: Tom Drennen and Beth Kinne
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Lia Duffy '14
Title: "Students’ Visceral Motivations Behind Food Waste"
Description:The purpose of this research is to explore the motivations behind students’ waste of food at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Drawing from Gray Hawkins book The Ethics of Waste: How We Relate to Rubbish, this research investigates his claim that waste is able to constitute the self through our personal habits or embodied practices. Hawkins argues “Waste is reduced to a product of culturally and historically variable human practices; what we want to get rid of tells us who we are and what we want to get rid of also makes us who we are” (Hawkins 2). My research will unpack the complex motives behind why individuals choose to waste food and the embodiment associated with that waste. What emotional and bodily relationships do individuals have with waste and in what ways are these shaped by their social and environmental identities? My methods will be in depth interviews with a diverse group of students from Hobart and William Smith Colleges who attain a meal plan at the dinning hall, Saga. Photovoice is a second method that will enable students to provide their own journaling through photographs of the food they are wasting. Both of these methods will assist in unpacking the complexities behind waste and the college student’s unearthed motives. Findings could lead to self-awareness in reference to waste and better waste management practices in universities and around the world.
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Abigael Blumenthal '14
Title: "Decolonization of Diet: A Visceral Approach to Analysis"
Description: Recent feminist and geographic work on food, health, and the body have pointed to concerns over the ways in which perceptions and practices of nutrition can reinforce social inequalities and further disempower the very people that are considered most “in need.” In light of these concerns, I am interested in exploring potential strategies for nutrition intervention that appear likely to account for questions of inequality and disempowerment. “Dietary Decolonization” is one particularly interesting and unique way of framing nutrition intervention efforts. Dietary decolonization refers to changes in food production, distribution and consumption practices that arise out of disenfranchised groups’ consciousness of their historical and current relationship to colonialism. The umbrella term of “decolonization” encompasses a wide array of food projects that are aimed at supporting sovereignty and autonomy in the food system, and/or seek to facilitate food production and consumption outside of colonial power. Through survey and interview based research, as well as discourse analysis of blogs, Facebook, and other social media sites, I have gained insight into the goals and successes of these intervention initiatives. I draw from feminist and geographic theories on food, health, and the body in order to discuss the power of such political framing to mobilize and empower disenfranchised groups who are risk for dietary disease.
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Mekala Bertocci '14; FLI Intern
Title: Real Food Challenge Intern
Adviser: Sarah Meyer, Finger Lakes Institute
[Direct Link] [PDF] [Daily Update]


Kristen Faughnan '13
Title: "Growing Money: Redefining the Value of Food"
Description: Industrial agriculture poses many questions for today’s world, affecting realms from sustainability to equity to human health. In recent years, many of these concerns have come to popular attention, as books such as The Omnivore’s Dilemma and films such as Food, Inc. have reached wide audiences and alternative food systems have risen to greater visibility. However, the implication of larger economic attitudes and structures in these issues has been less emphasized. My goal in this project for Honors in Economics is therefore to move attention away from individual food companies, and toward the systemic foundations that enable, encourage, and even require this behavior. My work begins with a discussion of economic theory, and in particular the traditions of Marx and Veblen. Through this examination, I construct an alternative understanding of capitalism as a social system that prioritizes monetary value over other means of worth. I then apply this understanding to modern agriculture, using the commercial chicken industry as a case study to illustrate overarching trends. In this analysis, I show how commodification and the search for profits have led to developments that benefit commercial bottom lines while harming consumers, animals, and natural environments. Ultimately, my work questions the effectiveness of price as a means to value and distribute food, arguing that it cannot reflect much of what we find most valuable about these products. I believe that shifting attention to this discrepancy between process and purpose may ultimately enable our society to grapple with agricultural issues more effectively and more consciously.
Adviser: Assistant Professor of Economics Elizabeth Ramey
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Meghan Van Dorp '13
Title: "You Are What You Eat: A Lesson on Eating Your Pets"
Description: What makes the human-bovine relationship unique, and how is that relationship manifested in the cultures of Spain, Argentina, and the United States? This multidisciplinary project, grounded in my majors of Spanish and Hispanic Studies and Latin American Studies, uses the lens of Anthropology and Cultural Studies to analyze the human-bovine relationship. The Companion Species Manifesto by Donna Haraway states that humans generally are not companions with the animals that they eat. In contrast, I argue that humans can be companions with the animals that they eat, specifically cows, because this is part of the unique beauty of reciprocity within the human-bovine relationship. The human-bovine relationship can also be seen via bullfighting in Spain, gauchoesque (cowboy) culture in Argentina, and via my personal relationship with dairy cattle in the United States. Growing up on a family farm in rural Upstate New York, I never realized before coming to HWS that basic knowledge about the origin and production of food is not instilled in all children. This realization enlarged when I observed bullfighting in Spain and gaucho culture in Argentina. In Spain, I observed a bullfight firsthand and visited ganaderías (ranches) with the goal of interviewing Spanish farmers. In Argentina, I explored the literature, poetry, cuisine, and landscape that shape gauchoesque culture. I propose that these combined experiences allow me to argue for a new perspective on the human-bovine relationship. Counter to Haraway’s belief that eating and companionship are mutually exclusive, I propose that humans can benefit from a reciprocal relationship with cows. This project has revealed how people’s relationships to food influence culture. Opportunities for further study on this topic include studying this relationship in Asia, India, Australia, and Africa.
Adviser:Associate Professor of Religious Studies Richard Salter
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Kevin Pollard '13
Title: "Cabbage Resistance to Onion Thrips"
Adviser: Caitlin Caron, HWS Coordinator of Writing Initiatives

Mollie Kenerson '15; FLI Intern
Title: Love Local Food Intern
Adviser: Adam Maurer and Sarah Meyer, Finger Lakes Institute
[Direct Link] [PDF]


Lucia Berliner '12; Fisher Center’s 2011 Woodworth Fellow
Title: "Healthy Food for All: A Model for the Future of Harmonious Consumption" (Film)
Description: Healthy Food for All is an organization based in Ithaca, NY dedicated to making locally grown food accessible to people from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Through grant writing and fundraising, the organization is able to subsidize the cost of Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) shares, a weekly portion of a farm’s produce, fruit, and/or meat, so that they are affordable to everyone. Born in 2006, the organization now enables over 100 families to have access to nutritious and locally grown foods. I began my work with Healthy Food for All during the summer of 2011. Initially interested in the ways that food and celebration can enrich and strengthen communities, I found myself at one of Healthy Food for All's Harvest Dinners, the organization’s primary source of fundraising, and made possible through donations from local farmers and volunteer work from popular Ithaca chefs, musicians and makeshift waiters. I knew this would be the focus of my film. Throughout the summer and fall semester, I interviewed many of the farmers and chefs involved in the organization, professors and the program coordinator. I then created a documentary that allowed them to tell their own story: the reason for starting the initiative, who it benefits, how it operates and why they continue doing what they do. I hope that this film can serve as a template for other communities to find ways of supporting local agriculture and fostering healthier communities.
Adviser: Leah Shafer, assistant professor of Media and Society
[Direct Link] [PDF] [Daily Update]

Bernadette Wonnuth '12
Title: "Effects of a Food Show on Caloric Intake"
Adviser: Jamie Bodenlos
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Marleah Noonan '12 and Stephanie Wells '10
Title: "Mindfulness and Health Behaviors"
Adviser: Jamie Bodenlos
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Julianne Webster '13, FLI Intern
Title: Sustainable Agriculture Intern
Adviser: Adam Maurer, Finger Lakes Institute
Summer student researcher Julianne Webster investigated analyzed the local food system for promoting economic vitality and food security within proximity of Geneva, NY. Agriculture is one of the main economic drivers in the Finger Lakes region. In the nine-county region, agriculture contributes 11,577 jobs and $323.7 million in wages each year. Through their purchasing power, HWS and other large institutions in the region can be a catalyst of a food enterprise that retains profits locally, encompassing the entire food supply chain from farm to plate. This position investigated the feasibility of vertical integration of all possible links in the pre-consumer supply chain for local food including production, distribution, processing, large institutions, and possibly restaurants. More specifically, the student intern identified regional sources of food produced sustainably; investigated existing systems that encourage locally sourced food and identify regional infrastructure and support to do so; and developed a network of local farms and food sources that would be accessible not only to HWS dining services, but also to surrounding restaurants and businesses. Development of this network seeks to enhance the ability of businesses and communities in the region to use more locally sourced food and develop an increased social capital for the region.
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Title: "Bonding With Food" (Blog)
Description: Most of us do some sort of cooking on a daily basis; however howmany of us don’t stop to think about why egg whites turn from clear to white when they are cooked, or what exactly occurs during caramelization. Cooking is essentially just chemistry. Justin Miller of the chemistry department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges recently designed a course to discuss the chemistry of cooking and to further investigate why various foods act the way they do on a molecular level. This site will serve a public forum for discussion about food, the chemistry behind the various categories of food and how such foods interact with each other.
Adviser: Justin Miller
[Direct Link][PDF][Daily Update]


Neala Havener '11; Honors Project
"Food poor, poor food: three voices of the National School Lunch Program"
Description: My project focuses on the evolution of the National School Lunch Program and current movements and current movements to redesign school food menus to provide more nutritious meals in an attempt to lower childhood obesity rates and provide more meals to school children. Former President Harry Truman signed the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) into law in 1946; by 2009, the federal government provided funding for public schools to offer free or reduced priced lunches to over 31 million children. Since its legal existence, the NSLP has undergone serious revisions because of attempts to eradicate inequalities originally established
by its infrastructure. The NSLP Act has undergone two major periods (1960s and current day) of change. In both instances of revision, women have played or are playing a major role in the reinvention of the program's parameters to provide more children across the nation with access to school lunches. The provision of school lunches allows students to excel academically in schools and reduces the number of children living in hunger in the United States. Moreover, education on nutritious
eating habits through school lunches allows students to control the outcome of their own health and in theory could address the nation's childhood obesity problem.
Through discourse analysis of a secondary literature review, I attempt to look at how women served or are serving as the catalyst of change for the NSLP Act.
Adviser: Cheryl Forbes
HWS Library: GENEVA QUARTO LD2261.25 2011 .H3)
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Megan Anne Rechin '11; Honors Project
Title: "The chemistry of culture in Buffalo, New York : an investigation of the chemical reactions behind the food people eat and the culture they create."
Adviser: Cheryl Forbes
HWS Library: GENEVA QUARTO LD2261.25 2011 .R4)
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Madeline August '11
Title: "Psychosocial Effects of Weight Gain in Collegiate First Years"
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Allison Andrews '12
Title: "The Future of Our Food: Climate Change and Food Poisoning"
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Celeste Smith '12; Community Based Research Project
Title: "Database Development for the Ovid Food Pantry"
Description: This project transferred the records of food pantry clients from two separate handwritten records into one computer database. The new system allows for a more accessible analysis of demographic information for grants and periodic reports. With an effective system, the pantry can evaluate its efficiency in meeting the needs of its clients.
Adviser: Katie Flowers
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Gillian Meade, WS’11; Community Based Research Project
Title: "Feasibility for an Egg Cooperative in Geneva"
Description: The Geneva Egg Co-op Community Based Research Project is a feasibility analysis and lowest cost proposal. This project outlines the structure of the proposed egg co-op and addresses all the inputs and provisions needed. Alternative solutions for the financial costs have been proposed in order to achieve the lowest possible cost for the project.
Adviser: Christopher Gunn

Food, Feminism and Health (WMST305), Community Based Research Project
"Research at the Geneva Courtyard Apartments"
Description: This project has been a collective, semester-long endeavor of our Food, Feminism, and Health class (WMST 305). The course is an upper level seminar and lab course focused on understanding and utilizing feminist research methods in the study of community food security. We are conducting research on the food needs and concerns of community residents of the Geneva Courtyard Apartments, which is operated by the Geneva Housing Authority. Our class has engaged in participant observation, surveying, mapping, and in-depth interviewing with these community members, as well as with those affiliated with the nearby Geneva Boys and Girls Club. Through our research, we have sought to learn about a variety of food-related issues, including food accessibility, eating habits and preferences, perceptions of healthy eating, interest in alternative food systems, and cultural and ethnic culinary differences. The information that we have gathered will serve as a starting place for effectively understanding and responding to the community's food needs that future classes and students at HWS may build upon in order to continue to facilitate food security in the Geneva community.

Adviser: Jessica Hayes-Conroy
[Direct Link] [PDF]


Caitlin Caron '10
Title: "The Kitchen Kindergarten"
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Youngmann, Jordan '10
Title: "The HWS Winter Greenhouse Gardening Project"
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Alexandra Hallowell '10
Title: "Local Food Co-op"
Description: This project explores the economic viability of a local produce food co-op. By working to understand the current gaps in product availabiilty, the local production capacity and the amount of community support for local produce, the study offers insight to community members for the future development of a co-operative venture.
Adviser: Christopher Gunn
[Direct Link] [PDF]


Laura Valdmanis '10; Community Based Research Project
Title: "Geneva Farmers Market Improved Outreach"
The Geneva Farmers Market is a gathering place for local food and craft vendors and for community members. Eighty percent of the products at the Market are locally produced or made. The Market is a friendly environment for vendors to inform their community members about where their produce or craft comes from and how to use it. Consumers meet the grower of the produce and the maker of the crafts. Money spent by consumers stays in the local economy and helps small farmers and craft people. The recent layout renovations have only enhanced the Geneva Farmers Market by creating a public gathering space that is open and shared by the community and visitors during Market days. Throughout the summer of 2009, the Community Based Researcher passed out surveys, spoke with customers and vendors about suggestions for the market and tallied the number of customers on Market days.
Direct Link: http://www.hws.edu/academics/service/valdmanis.aspx
DU Article 6/18/2009: WS Student Tackles Farmers Market http://www.hws.edu/dailyupdate/NewsDetails.aspx?aid=12125 [
File Not Found
File Not Found

[Direct Link] [PDF]

Rayza Santiago '09; FLI Intern
Title: Local Foods and Waste Reduction Intern
Adviser: Sheila Myers and Sarah Meyer, Finger Lakes Institute
[Direct Link] [PDF]


Emily Golson '08; FLI Intern
"Bringing Local Food to the Finger Lakes Institute"; Why Buy Local? Local Sourcing for HWS Catered Events
Environmental Studies Senior Integrative Experience
Adviser: Sarah A. Meyer (Email)
[Direct Link] [PDF]

Christine S. Moskell '08; FLI Intern
Title: "The human ecology of the local foods movement : a personal perspective"
Adviser: Paul Kehle
HWS Library: GENEVA QUARTO LD2261.25 2008 .M6
[Direct Link] [PDF]


Claire Cashen '95
Title: "Food, folklore, and creative writing : listening to the garden grow"
Adviser: David DeVries
HWS Library: GENEVA QUARTO LD2261.25 1995.C37
[Direct Link] [PDF]


William F. Scandling '94
Title: "The saga of Saga : the life and death of an American dream"
HWS Library: TX946 .S33 1994
[Direct Link] [PDF]


Burton F. Beers; Honors Project
Title: "New hope for a hungary [sic] world, a study of the background, organization, and the operating principles of the F.A.O."
HWS Library: GENEVA QUARTO LD2261.25 1950.B43
[Direct Link] [PDF]

~Pre- 1950~

Richard Osborn Cummings '32
"The American and his food : a history of food habits in the United States"
HWS Library: GENEVA TX360 .U6 C8
[Direct Link] [PDF]

~No Date~

Raphaela Kramer, Reilly McDonnell, Nicole O’Connell, Carson Smith, Zoë Van Nostrand; SJSP 101 - Community Based Research: Intro to the Scholarship of Engagement
Title: "Food For Thought"
Description: Research Question-Why has attendance at the Community Lunch Program in Geneva dropped in the last few years?
[Direct Link][PDF]