This project explores how oral histories can be used to shed light on complicated food policies that affect people in their daily lives.

This is a pilot project conducted in collaboration with Meg Hourigan of the Connecticut Food System Alliance (CFSA) and the Hartford Food System. Both organizations have a keen value in food equity for all people in every community. They are working to make quality food more accessible and affordable while also supporting local growers of food to boost our economy thus creating jobs. Furthermore, they are interested in finding new ways to distribute information about policies that shape our food system and this project explores the potential of storytelling to help do this work.

In giving people the mic to voice their experiences, we hope it will resonate with others which may, in turn, inspire them to share their own experiences.

Our group consists of four students: two from Capital Community College and two from Trinity College working together in the Liberal Arts Action Lab.

Christopher Carter is a senior at Trinity College majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Urban Studies. In the past, he was able to participate in a research project that investigated the binge-drinking culture at Trinity. Over the summer he won a grant to conduct research on the marijuana usage that Trinity students partake in. He wanted to conduct some research for the city of Hartford and has decided to work with the Connecticut Food System Alliance to use oral histories to shed light on complicated food policies that affect Hartford residents in their daily lives. Through the Liberal Arts Action Lab, he was able to work with a team to not only come up with the research topics, but also help conduct them as well.

Petrea Mannello also attends Trinity. She is a junior majoring Anthropology as well as Classics. She’s excited to be studying in the diverse city of Hartford, having grown up in a very small and homogenous town. Petrea wanted to be a part of the Action Lab because she wanted to apply the methods and concepts she learned in class to a real life scenario, which could help enact change.

Carlo Puccio has lived in Hartford for over 15 years, and is a retired professional cook with ten years of experience in different service establishments ranging from fine dining to gastro pubs and bar and grill restaurants. A Liberal Arts major at Capital Community College, Carlo attempts to capture the experiences and struggles of Hartford’s residents who labor in the food service industry and how they are affected by the current economy as well as specific policies within food service.

Antoine Smith  was born and raised in Hartford and has been employed by the city for over 21 years, currently as a Firefighter. Antoine has a passion for the city of Hartford and its residents. He is the owner of Grounds Keepers LLC. landscape maintenance service. Through his business he has had the opportunity to train and employ, several people in the community that due to their background have found it difficult to find jobs. He spends a lot of his time engaging the community through outreach in order to promote positive change within the city of Hartford. Antoine is happily married with four children who loves outreach as much as he does. He is currently a student at Capital Community College. He believes that having an education is essential to the quality of help he will be able to give to the community. 



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