For the next couple of months, the world revolves around food at Fontbonne University.
Each fall, Fontbonne holds a dedicated semester during which academic studies across all disciplines center on a single theme. This fall semester's theme, Foodology: The Culture, Economics and Science of Food, invites faculty and students to explore the role of food in world cultures, health and science, politics and economics. Instructors incorporate food into their lessons, relating the theme to a variety of disciplines.
In adjunct professor Amy Meyers' case, it was fashion. Students taking her courses – Visual Merchandising and Store Planning, Textiles, and Apparel Production and Evaluation – were challenged to create displays using the food theme as their inspiration.
“At first they were really mad; they did not want to do it,” Meyers says. “They take that (food theme) so literally at that stage. They were like, 'What, are we supposed to make a dress out of something that will decompose? A dress out of basil?'”
The students quickly found their muse. Fresh off a presentation FoodCorps founder Curt Ellis, famous for his documentary “King Corn,” Meyers' fashion students transformed piles of corn husks into a comely, flowing gown embellished with dyed husk flowers and delicately “beaded” with dried kernels, and built a window display around the dress.
For another window display, students were asked to create fashion displays that used colors found in food and nature. The results were deliciously eye-catching. Upcoming assignments will challenge fashion students to explore organic clothing and choose a food-related topic around which they must build a window display.
“The displays have been show-stoppers on campus,” Meyers says. “It broadened (the students') way of thinking. The energy level was amazing; they got excited about it.”
Fontbonne University is celebrating the Foodology theme campus-wide with a number of food-centered events, including tastings, seminars, guest speakers and food-related movie showings.
Fontbonne University, 6800 Wydown Blvd., 314.862.3456, fontbonne.edu