Illinois State University’s new Food Studies program is hosting a sneak preview of the documentary Seasons of Change on Henry’s Farm at 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 25, at the Normal Theater. The free event marks the launch of the University’s food studies minor and is open to the public.
Following the preview, there will be a Q&A with film subject Henry Brockman and filmmaker Ines Sommer, who teaches in Northwestern University’s MFA in Documentary Media program.
The film follows the lives of Henry and Hiroko Brockman, who have run an organic vegetable farm in the Mackinaw Valley of Central Illinois for 25 years. Though the successful farm has many loyal customers, Henry knows he needs to give his body a break. So he puts his former apprentices in charge while he takes a year’s sabbatical with Hiroko in her native Japan.
The results of Henry’s “fallow year,” however, turn out to be very different from what he had anticipated. While those at home battle chaotic weather that threatens the crops, the specter of climate change enters Henry’s consciousness, unbidden and unwelcome, forcing him to acknowledge that he must transform the farm in the face of international climate change. By turns lyrical and hard-hitting, the film explores how biodiversity, adaptability, and resilience are key to survival in an ever more unpredictable future.
The Food Studies program offers courses across nine disciplines, including anthropology, agriculture, economics, geography, health science, marketing, nutrition, philosophy, and politics and government.
“The new minor will help students understand the biological, cultural, environmental, philosophical, and political aspects of food and food systems,” said Professor of Politics and Government Noha Shawki, who noted the interdisciplinary study is vital at a time when world leaders are warning of looming water and food shortages. “The study of sustainable development of our food system is critical for the future. This program is one more way the University is preparing students to be global citizens.”
The sneak preview of the film is sponsored in part by the Harold K. Sage Fund and the Illinois State University Foundation.