PODCAST: Dinner for Two...Hundred: What I Did This Summer

Originally posted 8/14/19

About the Episode

Feed That Nation is available on the following platforms: Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Pocket Casts, Radio Public, Castbox, Overcast, and Stitcher.

Oh, man. What a crazy couple of months I have had. The way I thought my summer was going to go: lazy summer afternoons at the farmer's market, podcasting every week, relaxing, etc., ended up being completely thrown out of the window. And I wouldn't have had it any other way! :)

The Backstory

I have worked for the last 3 years with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps as their Nutrition Specialist. I do a little of everything: health and wellness education, consulting on the summer menu, working in the food truck, and supporting the rest of the administrative team in other tasks as needed. I'd planned to spend a couple of weeks with them over the summer, as I've done every summer since I started.

This summer, it happened that our food operations manager, the person who travels with the group to coordinate and oversee food ops, was not going to be coming on the road. So there was an opening for someone to fill this role.

(I think anyone who has met me can see where this is going...)

I put my name in the ring, and was hired for the final 6 weeks of tour, starting June 30th and finishing on August 10th.

Life on the Road

When on the road, we have semi-trailer outfitted as a kitchen that travels with our group. Nearly every day this summer, I would wake up in a new location, ask myself "What state is this again?", decide it didn't matter, and then get up to go find my truck and get breakfast going for everyone. Generally, we have parent and alumni volunteers who will come and work in the food truck with me. We have a set menu rotation, make frequent walmart runs, and receive food deliveries weekly, so on top of managing food production and service, I also kept track of inventory on the truck, made shopping lists, and coordinated getting deliveries put away.

I faced interesting challenges throughout the summer: limited cold storage space, a shortage of volunteers, some mechanical issues with our truck, and more. My academic and practical experience in food service prepared me well for a lot of these issues, but every day called me to think on my feet and go with the flow.

Personal Growth

When sleep-deprived and stressed, I do not handle challenges as gracefully as I'd prefer. Whether that be forgetting to turn the oven on, clashing personalities on the truck, or a spilled gallon of caesar dressing on my shoes, there were many times when even minor inconveniences felt like the worst problems in the world. In those moments, it's easy to want to walk away. But I couldn't, and didn't.

At such low points (the day of the spilled Caesar dressing was definitely one of them!), it was easy to forget that at the end of every day, nutritious meals were served on time, giving my students the fuel they needed to rehearse and perform their best. Having a few days at home now to catch up on sleep and to reflect, I can look back and say that my summer was largely a success, especially because I was able to overcome difficulties to work toward my end goals.

My favorite parts

By far, the best parts of the summer were getting to know my students. Through brief conversations over styrofoam plates of food, they told me about rehearsal that day, told me jokes, told me how much they missed their dogs, and shared their lives with me. I watched them rehearse and perform after hearing bad news from home, after nights of insomnia, and more. I watched my students push through personal challenges every day, and their resiliency inspired me.

I was incredibly lucky to have an administrative team to support me and our shared goal of caring for our students. There were days when I had so few volunteers in the food truck with me that our athletic trainers, photographers, and directors were making sports drink, refilling condiments, and washing dishes to keep us going. Meanwhile, we had excellent conversations about everything under the sun, helping me turn bad days into better ones. I started the summer with coworkers, and ended the summer with dear friends.

End of the Summer

I begin graduate school 3 weeks from today! I'm hoping these last few weeks of summer will return to what I had originally thought my entire summer would be: going to WAY too many farmer's markets, cooking, podcasting, and enjoying time with my husband and family.

PODCAST: Managing Chronic Illness as a Young Adult

About the Episode

Feed That Nation is available to listen on the following platforms: AnchorApple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifyBreakerPocket CastsRadio PublicCastboxOvercastYouTube, and Stitcher.

Season two is finally here! I've been beyond excited for this season to start because I fell in love with this episode! 

This was a first in three ways for me: My first podcast episode published outside of the sphere of my honors project. I had a lot more independence in creating this episode and I'm proud of the work that I've put in to it. This episode also marks my first time talking about my own chronic condition, PCOS, in a public space. Sure, I've had conversations about it with friends and classmates, but I've never written or talked about it online. This was also the first episode I had not one, not two, but three guests! The four of us had such a fun time recording together. I was nervous that we wouldn't be able to keep a conversation going, but we literally talked so much that I had to split this episode into two parts to keep it from being so long! 

I enjoyed getting to know my three friends better through this episode. Individually, I've spoken to each of them about their chronic illnesses and mine, but hearing their stories and advice and being able to validate each other's experiences added a lot of depth to our relationships. I also learned a lot about their own chronic conditions. I thought I knew a lot before, but this episode has taught me that there is always more to learn! I was also reflecting on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "The Danger of a Single Story" while editing, and thinking about how all of our experiences with chronic illness really only reflect us as individuals. there are millions of other people with chronic illnesses, and all of their experiences are just as unique as ours. 

PODCAST: Season 1 Finale!

About the Episode

I made a podcast! Let's talk about it!

Deciding to create a podcast for my senior honors project wasn't the easiest thing I've ever done, but it's been one of the most exciting and challenging experiences of my college career! I've gained so much confidence in my public speaking skills, along with a lot of technical knowledge about audio production and editing. There have been so many learning opportunities (mistakes!!!) that have made me a better interviewer and producer along the way.

Season Two is in production and I am so excited to continue learn more about the world around me. Podcasting allows me to have amazing conversations and learn so many new things!

Stay tuned for Season Two, which will premiere on June 3rd with lots of exciting new content!

Please leave me a review and a 5-star rating on iTunes, if that's where you listen. When the tracking software knows that people are listening and like my podcast, they are more likely to recommend it to new listeners!

PODCAST: Promoting Food Literacy Through On-Campus Agriculture, Part B

About the Episode

Feed That Nation: The Podcast is available on the following platforms: AnchorApple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifyYouTubeBreakerPocket CastsRadio PublicCastboxOvercast, and Stitcher.

To wrap up my honors project, Episode 4B was the final episode I produced. I knew right from the beginning of the project that I wanted to talk about BEES! Chris has been one of my faculty mentors for the last couple of years as I've worked on the St. Kate's Community Garden. His interests are more in bees than in gardening, but as we talk about in the podcast, it's all interconnected!

I also love Marie's thoughtfulness and her enthusiasm! One of the best parts of working on Feed That Nation has been getting to have amazing conversations with people about topics that they are SO excited to talk about.

This episode presented a unique challenge for me as an amateur audio engineer: recording with 3 people on 2 microphones. The audio quality for this episode isn't exactly what I was hoping, but I learned a lot about sound balancing and using the microphones effectively through this episode.

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did! Next Monday, I'll be publishing a behind-the-scenes episode talking all about how I decided to do a podcast series for my senior honors project and what I learned along the way!

PODCAST: Promoting Food Literacy Through On-Campus Agriculture, Part A

About the Episode

Feed That Nation is available on the following platforms: AnchorApple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify, YouTube, BreakerPocket CastsRadio PublicCastboxOvercast, and Stitcher.

Podcast 4A was one of my favorites of the whole project. I was super jazzed about the topic, Promoting Food Literacy Through On-Campus Agriculture, and even more excited to interview my work supervisor and mentor, Jennifer Tacheny. Jennifer has worked as the co-director of Young Adult Spirituality for 14 years, and she's been directing the Celeste's Dream Community Garden during that time. Jennifer's background is in sustainable agriculture, and she's got a huge heart and passion for collaboration and connection in working on social justice issues.

I've learned so much from Jennifer and the other community gardeners with Celeste's Dream. One of my favorite parts of our conversation in this episode was discussing how community garden spaces can be classrooms for people to come and learn and teach others. For me, it's been fun to be both student and teacher; I end up doing a lot of educating when I'm leading projects with the St. Kate's community garden, and I'm teaching a lot of the ideas I've learned while working with Celeste's Dream. It's been one of the best learning experiences I've had in my time in college, and I am looking forward to continuing to garden and learn in the future.

A couple of exciting events coming up for me: In the next 2 months, I'm presenting at 3 different conferences! Two of them are small conferences hosted by other private colleges in the metro area, and the 3rd is the Midwest Campus Compact Conference. We actually had to write and submit a presentation proposal for this one. A month later, we were informed that our presentation had been chosen! This is a large conference that will bring together educators, administrators, students, and stakeholders from all over the Midwest, and I'm absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to present about our work with food insecurity at St. Kate's with my mentors.

PODCAST: Food Insecurity in College Students, Part B

Originally posted 3/4/19

About the Episode

It was only by happenstance that Dakota Noel ended up being a guest on my podcast. He and I met through a mutual friend at a social dancing event several years ago. He's full of energy, very thoughtful and philosophical, and we never run out of things to talk about! He was over for dinner sometime last fall, and I was explaining about my honors project, and the different topics for the podcasts I was doing. When I mentioned food insecurity, he casually commented "Oh, I was food insecure once".

The conversation switched to other topics shortly after, but it stuck in my mind. In talking about food insecurity, I'd been wanting a student perspective, but since I work so closely with food insecure students on my own campus, it felt inappropriate to approach any of them and potentially invade their privacy.

But I asked Dakota a couple of days later if he would be willing to be on my podcast to talk about his experience with food insecurity, and he was all for it!

We had a really great conversation, though we did manage to get completely off-topic multiple times. I'm so grateful that he was willing to share his experience with me, and I think it made for an authentic and interesting podcast episode. Enjoy!

PODCAST: Food Insecurity in College Students, Part A

Originally published 2/26/19

Feed That Nation is available on the following platforms: Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Pocket Casts, Radio Public, Castbox, Overcast, and Stitcher. Listen and enjoy!

About Feed That Nation Episode 3A

I had honestly been looking forward to Podcast 3A for pretty much all year! Food insecurity in college students is a topic that I've spent a ton of time thinking about and working with on my campus. The ability to use my podcast as a medium to open up this awesome conversation others is one of my favorite things!

I'm not exaggerating when I say that I'd been fangirling so hard over getting to meet Rebecca Leighton. Not only is she a graduate of the MPH program that I was in the process of applying for (and recently was accepted!), but she's also super nice. We're both knowledgeable and passionate about a lot of the same topics and ideas, so our conversation flowed easily.

I had a pretty big technical snafu when we recorded for the first time: I didn't double-check that all my equipment was plugged in and working correctly. If I had double-checked, I would have realized that my "input" cord (connecting the microphones to the digital recorder), was actually plugged into the "output" jack. This resulted in my 60 minute audio recording being absolutely silent--no microphones were plugged in, so no sound was recorded! Oh no!

When I emailed Rebecca to explain all of this, she very kindly and generously offered to come back and rerecord with me! And I'm so grateful that she did!

Needless to say, I'll never make that mistake again. I've sworn to always do a double-check of my equipment and do a sound check before recording, to be extra sure that everything is working. Lesson learned!

Feed That Nation, The Podcast

Originally published 11/25/18

Feed That Nation is available on the following platforms: Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Pocket Casts, Radio Public, Castbox, Overcast, and Stitcher.

To complete my senior honors project at St. Kate's, I was allowed to choose any type of project I was interested in. Students in past years have done everything from research papers to musical performances, but it has always felt like those projects only existed when they were being produced. I wanted to create a project that would be able to continue educating and engaging others even after I graduate and move onto my next big adventure.

After giving it a lot of thought, I elected to write, produce, and publish a podcast series about nutrition issues related to college students. The name for the podcast series came to me on the same day I was trying to come up with my new blog URL, and I decided to give them both the same name: Feed That Nation.

Season 1 (aka: the scope of my honors project) will consist of four 2-part episodes, to be published between November 2018 and April 2019. I feel as though I've been able to grow and develop my "voice" as a podcaster, as well as learn the basics of audio editing and interviewing through this season.

Season 2 is currently in the works and will feature more interesting people and conversations!

I've been doing my editing on Adobe Audition, and my publishing host site is anchor.fm. I have had so much fun learning how to do audio editing, researching for my episodes, and having fantastic conversations with my guests about a wide variety of issues!