Food For Life: Oral History Collection

What is Food For Life on Two Peninsulas?

Food for Life on Two Peninsulas: Stories from Old Farm Families, Migrant Workers, and the New "Foodies" of Grand Traverse Bay, is an oral history collection developed and curated by the Traverse Area District Library. The purpose of the collection is to capture history in the making, focusing on a central question: what has becoming a “foodie” town meant to our community? We seek to record stories that answer that question from the perspective of food producers (farmers, fisherman, migrant field workers, restaurants, wineries, foragers) as well as consumers (tourists, locals, transplants).

Where can I listen to the interviews?

All the interviews for this collection, as well as any documentation about the collection and preservation of these interviews, are available for your listening pleasure:

Food for Life On Two Peninsulas: an Oral History Collection

What is an Oral History?

Oral History can be defined as the recording, preservation and interpretation of historical information, based on the personal experiences and opinions of the speaker, and frequently takes the form of eye-witness evidence about the past. When we record people telling their stories, we hope to capture their impressions of the world around them, either now or in their past.

Who did you choose to interview?

We partnered with the Northern Michigan Small Farms Conference and our friends at Crosshatch to set up an interview room at the 2016 Conference. We then solicited among the attendees, looking for new foodies, old hands, greenhorns, connoisseurs, and everyone in-between. Luckily for our volunteer interviewers, every person had a story to tell! We hope to continue this project at other venues throughout the year.

What is the Lifestory Center?

The Lifestory Center (LC) is where life stories are kept for use by the public, and is a collection stewarded by Traverse Area District Library. The purpose of the LC is to archive, celebrate, and disseminate personal stories of our times and people. Life stories are snapshots of a time or place… slices of ordinary life as well as memorable moments that shape a life or a society. The stories submitted to the LC should be stories about our lives and our history from a personal point of view. The stories that are accepted will be available to the public, as long as the LC exists.

I have a food story to share, too! Who do I contact to be interviewed?

How exciting! Please get in touch with librarian Amy Barritt at 231-932-8502, or, to set up a meeting. If you would rather write your story down, please read the next FAQ.

I have a story to share... but microphones make me nervous. I'd rather write my story down. Can I submit that story for inclusion?

Absolutely! Food for Life is just one part of our story archive here at Traverse Area District Library. Please download our submission form for the Lifestory Center for more information:

Lifestory Center Submission Information

I would like to start a foodie oral history program too. Can I get a copy of your consent form and question list?

Please, be our guest! We are always glad to share and answer questions. As you will see, the form is design to be simple, sustainable and reusable for future oral history projects. Happy recording!:

Food for Life Survey Form