John Tolley, April 18, 2017

How often do you think about food?

Are you the kind of person that obsesses over that new lunch spot getting good buzz? Or, are you the kind of person who would rather slurp down a pint of Soylent than waste time with a meal?

No matter what your relationship with food may be, its role in the course of human events can't be denied. In fact, the subject merits some serious scholarship at places like the Indiana University Food Institute.

According to their website, the mission of the IU Food Institute is to promote innovative research, education, and public outreach on multidisciplinary approaches to food and foodways. They focus not just on what we eat and why, but how our eating habits shape our health, our culture and impact the environment.

Recently, the Food Institute, a part of the College of Arts and Sciences, moved into a new home on the Bloomington campus, one that features a research library that is available not just to researchers, but the whole IU community.

"The IUFI is already a place where people interested in food from across the university can meet, plan and host events," says Leigh Bush, a graduate fellow at the IU Food Institute, speaking to IU Bloomington News. "The library adds to this creative community by also being a place where everyone can come to find resources relating to food that would otherwise be difficult to track down or aren't available in one space. This is about creating a welcome space for knowledge exchange that is yet to exist for food-interested scholars across disciplines."

The library is, of course, more than merely a repository of cookbooks - of which it has its share. There one can find titles that speak to the impact of agriculture on society, the way our diet has shapes our lives and how delicious cheese is.

"We're excited and fortunate to have this amazing collection of books, many of which have been donated by top food studies scholars around the country," explains Madeline Chera, an IU Food Institute graduate fellow and cultural anthropology Ph.D. student. "We're happy to be able to collect research and reference materials under one roof where we can bring scholars from across the disciplines together to form new connections and collaborations."

The resources in the Food Institute library are currently available to any and all IU faculty, staff and students, but in an on-site only capacity. The plan is to soon transition the library into a full-fledged lending library for the community.