Hunger is not just a problem in the midwest, or the nation, but rather a global issue with close midwest ties. As a major farming region and manufacturer of food products, we are poised to make global impacts on farming and food production, even as midwest farmers learn from and adapt global models of farming and food production. Such innovations will help meet global hunger needs. As a land grant university, Michigan State University spearheads numerous initiatives related to these issues, but often the local community is unaware of the work being done through campus researchers and instructors. An increased awareness of how local citizens can be involved in community/policy change and how these issues affect our personal lives and the lives of those around us is needed. The humanities and arts are important pedagogical tools for increasing awareness of these issues and for creating innovative approaches to activism and knowledge production.
We believe that communities in the midwest are hungry for more than just food. As budget cuts and reallocations lead to continued cuts of music and art programs in schools and communities, there is a need for community composing outlets and events. Consequently, #MidwestHungerIs is designed to contribute to a global midwest that better understands and engages with the practices of writing, literacy, creative storytelling, music, and the arts. Simultaneously, it will contribute to an increased awareness of and activism around the local and global issue of hunger. Furthermore, it will invite university and community participants, as well as policy makers and government officials, to think broadly about the idea of hunger and what it is that midwest citizens hunger for and why. Finally, our project will enable cultural entrepreneurs to collaborate for future literacy, artistic, and business endeavors with each other and community members.
These collaborations will allow us to develop sustainable partnerships with writers, composers, artists, researchers, and community members with ties to the midwest and around the globe.