This website is the collective, cumulative documentation of the students of Spring 2012′s Calumet Quarter “Food Security and Agriculture” course. After 11 weeks of in-class theoretical discussion and on-site physical exploration, we have compiled our experiences into words, images, and sound-bytes to pay tribute to the complexity and salience of food security, particularly within a heavily-industrialized, economically distressed area.


What is the Calumet Quarter?

The Calumet Quarter, an integrative and experience-based program in environmental studies, explores the local communities and ecology of an expansive stretch of land from Chicago’s south side along Lake Michigan into Indiana and Michigan. This area, known as the Calumet region, was once a rich network of various ecosystems that comprised one of the largest wetlands in the country. Within the last century, human land use  began to radically reshape the region. Now, the region conjures up images of a highly industrialized urban landscape next to still-remaining natural treasures and significant levels of biodiversity. Moreover, heavy industry has also fostered human concerns of environmental injustice. The Calumet Quarter integrates perspectives from the sciences, humanities, and social sciences in the study of local environments and communities.

What is food security?

As defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,  “food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy lifestyle.” Food security is an issue that involves countless aspects including, but certainly not limited to, food production and distribution, poverty, buying power, social networks, and cultural choice. With the Calumet region as a case study, we explored the dynamic between agriculture and the food system, specifically pertaining to themes of security, sovereignty, and accountability.