U of G students tell local food stories through new audio project

Future Food Visions launches on Saturday, which is a series of nine audio experiences written and recorded by the students at the University of Guelph. The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson

A unique audio project will give listeners a chance to learn about Guelph’s history on food and food insecurity.

Future Food Visions launches on Saturday at the Guelph Farmers’ Market, as nine stories will be told through a new audio experience created by theatre students from the University of Guelph.

The initiative is a collaboration between the university and Our Food Future. Other collaborators include CFRU, the Guelph Community Health Centre and the Food System Resiliency Table.

Kimberley McLeod, project co-ordinator and associate professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies, said the audio experience helps you see the stories in a new light.

“It’s immersive but also intimate. It’s because you get to sit with yourself and who you are and what your personal relationship is to the space around you while you listen to audio that tells you about the experience of others,” McLeod said.

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The students have developed the stories and she said it’s been really empowering for them to be able to write and perform their own work.

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“They were involved in all stages of the piece. They did all the research as part of this course and then they wrote their own scripts, and we worked with professional playwrights to clean up the scripts and get them to be as strong as they could be,” she said.

The stories are a way to highlight the work put in by local food organizations, community groups and cultural communities to help people respond to food access and inequality.

McLeod added that the students recorded the stories at CFRU.

She said she is a big fan of audio experiences being done in particular places, and these stories can be heard all over the city, including downtown and at community gardens.

McLeod encourages people to try and listen to different stories.

“There’s one that you can actually experience in your own home, in your own kitchen, that’s quite playful and satirical and it’s playing with a lot of the advice we get about to how cook better,” she said.

On Saturday, the event will be offered as a one-day-only experience from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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The audio will also be available to stream on the project’s website and on the Driftscape app, where it is free to download.

McLeod said you can share your thoughts afterwards on social media or through email.

“We invite you at the end of each experience to go to our website. And on the website, there is a question, or a little prompt, and you can respond to that prompt in any way you want,” she said.

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