Inspired by an Introduction to Photography class last year, sophomore Amy Harff used her acquired skills to examine and document the different facets of food waste in her Adirondack Program independent research project this past fall. Her endeavor resulted in an exhibition of her work at The W!LD Center in Tupper Lake as part of the 2nd Annual North Country Food Justice Summit titled Feed Back: Cultivating Action in February 2019 and at the Keene Valley Library in December 2018. Her work will be featured again at Cornell University’s Green Living Fair on April 20.

“As a studio art and environmental studies double major, I was able to combine both of these interests in this project,” Harff explained. “I would consider myself ‘passionate’ about art in general. This project gave me the ability to practice photography which was chiefly inspired by … Professor Knight last spring. He was extremely helpful and supportive of this project. Janelle [Schwartz, Adirondack Program General Director] was also extremely helpful throughout the project given her knowledge about food waste.

“My project examines the different facets of food waste – from farm to store to our homes and then to landfills. If we are aware of the inefficiencies of this system, then we can work to reduce the 160 billion pounds of food that are squandered annually.

“I have focused on food waste in the Adirondacks, and specifically, in Essex County, to better understand how smaller communities address this issue. Since farming is a major economic part of the Adirondacks, food, and consequently, food waste, play an even bigger role in daily life.”

Harff '21 at her exhibition at The W!LD Center
Harff '21 at her exhibition at The W!LD Center

“This project grew out of her desire to contribute to, participate in, and act on one of the critical issues that arose during our conversations in my Common Experience Seminar,” Schwartz said. “Within this course, one of our main topics is food sustainability and food justice. We begin with our local lenses, given our communal meal structure, which also includes the students being in charge of their food budget, food sourcing, food preparation and storage, and food disposal. We expand this immediate experience into national and global perspectives through field trips in the region, readings, and guest speakers. Amy became very interested in the food loss/food waste side of food justice and sustainability. And so she and I worked to determine the best way to showcase this issue, to raise awareness, while also keeping with one of her passions: photography.”

In addition to Amy's photography exhibition, Clara Cho '20 moderated a panel as part of her role as an intern for AdkAction during the Food Justice Summit at The W!LD Center.


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