Monthly Archives: February 2012

SPROUTS

For my project in finding community involvement relating to my are of interest, I came across SPROUTS, also known as Students Producing Organics Under the Sun.  SPROUTS is a community garden run by volunteers through the office of sustainability at IU.  While it is a student run organization, it has a larger goal of reaching out to the greater Bloomington community in hopes to educate and circulate ideas and truths about the state of food production today.

A blurb found here about the garden is chalk full of buzz words.  Environment, instability, organic, and food systems, are just a few of the words this organization uses.  The general goal is to promote local growing, harvesting, and “autonomy” within the community of Bloomington, and strive to leave behind dependence on industrial globalized food systems.

Indiana University is undoubtedly an enormous operation with thousands of students using its facilities for food daily.  One of the interesting disparities I want to further investigate is IU’s large reliance on industrial food industries to keep this operation in progress.  Although the office of sustainability is behind works like SPROUTS and other urban garden projects around campus, it is still in major reliance on large scale food services to accomplish its goal.

Despite disparities between student life and student involvement, this is no doubt a great example of an academic  institution working within a community to propagate awareness to a new social problem and one that will require greater and greater attention in the future.  Industrialized food systems no doubt have their benefit on institutions like IU, yet places like SPROUTS can show sustainable, efficient, and healthy alternatives on top of creativity and expression.

 

CITED:

“Students Producing Organics Under the Sun (SPROUTS)”, n.d. http://www.indiana.edu/~sustain/Clearinghouse/Students_Producing_Organics_under_the_Sun_(SPROUTS).html.
Arroyo, Steven. “Urban Gardens Sprout Up On IU Campus.” Indiana Public Media. News, June 6, 2011, Online edition. http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/urban-gardens-sprout-iu-campus-16578/.
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Go Find the Art!

Trained Eye Arts Center is a non-profit co-operative, a home for the arts in Bloomington.  There one can find a host of studios, rented out various local artists, art galleries throughout, and a functioning venue with multiple stages for entertainment and musical acts.  Owner and founder Adam Nahas has been featured in various publications in Bloomington and support is very steadily growing for this space.  Here is where things get interesting for me, in their “vision” (found at http://trainedeyearts.com):

“Some of our current projects include civic beautification and mural work, developing an open campus for art classes, eco-conscious studio, sustainable gallery, and community garden space. We envision a creative oasis dedicated to the enhancement of the northwest side of Bloomington and the community as a whole.”

There is an amazing amount of potential in this facility right here in Bloomington.  For me, it would be a great starting point to analyze the effects and their extent this area has on Bloomington.  Their projects with sustainable gardens in the community is a great starting point to examine what they are doing to raise awareness, promote sustainable growing, and a great shift away from industrialized food into secure, sovereign food systems.  This ties directly to art and has a number of other vestibules which flow from it such as the Bloomington farmers market, and various community garden projects.

 

 

Cited:
                “Trained Eye Arts Center”, n.d. http://trainedeyearts.com/.
Thacker, Kate. “Trained Eye Arts Center Provides Studio Space, Community to Local Artists.” Indiana Daily Student, January 24, 2012. http://www.idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=85060&search=trained%20eye&section=search.

Peer Blog Commenting Summation

I enjoyed comparing and contrasting my views and take away points from the film Another World is Possible with my classmates.

One theme I found to be predominant is the role of the United States in our global functioning body.  I think that being self-aware in terms of our presence as a country is of utmost importance.  It is extremely easy to see ourselves as a country in our own personal lives.  We don’t want higher taxes, we want our daily freedoms, we want to eat, to watch TV to consume.  While these ideals are indeed a privilege to be happy about, we cannot lose sight of our fellow human beings across the globe.

The wonderful peer blogs I read and reviewed are here:

Moriah

Tatiana

Maggie

Nanotechnology: A Problem Definition

In mining for data on the topic of Nanotechnology, perhaps the most common motif was the question of, what is it?  Surely by definition it makes sense that it is simply, the technological development of very small things.  Yet, that is about all that anyone seems to be able to agree upon.  This is not only due to the little that is known about this technology, a development very far off in the future, but also because it entails uses for almost everything.  This broadness in definition is cause for debate, and explanation as Lindquist, Mosher-Howe, and Liu, explain in their 2010 article entitled “Nanotechnology. . .What Is It Good For (Absolutely Everything).

They bring to the table the concept of a problem definition, in other words something so broad and esoteric that it is difficult to interpret, create policy, or even form opinions.  The examples they use are words like “justice,” “freedom,” and “liberty.”  In relation to Nanotechnology they explain: “Nanotechnology, as it represents an often ill or ambiguously defined aggregate of technologies, has been strategically directed toward the multiple problems to which entrepreneurs have linked the ‘nanotechnology solution'” (3).  Thus nanotechnology presents a legitimate social issue by definition alone, for its size and scope cannot be summed up in one word.

The authors’ research goes on to point out that nanotechnology is being defined across the board and frequently with different spins and uses.  The group researched a number of articles published over the last few decades and created a chart illustrating the issue of nanotechnology’s panacea-like attributes:

Figure 1: Number of Articles by Sector Across Time. Taken from pg. 266 (12) of cited article

 

As seen in figure 1, different industries all have a great interest in the future of nanotechnology, all with competing goals, visions, and ends. So what can we conclude from this article?  The group urges the importance of a careful look at all angles of this exciting new technology.  Their idea of nanotechnology being a problem definition speaks to future policy processes that could shape this future innovation for better or worse.  Personally I think it vital to look at all of these definitions and from there, take a further step back, looking at the people it will affect, the industries it will shut down or revitalize, the environmental affect it will have, and the many social problems it may cause.

 

  1. Eric Lindquist, Katrina N. Mosher-Howe, and Xinsheng Liu, “Nanotechnology . . . What Is It Good For? (Absolutely Everything): A Problem Definition Approach,” Review of Policy Research 27, no. 3 (May 2010): 255-271.