Reflections on our first stop!
>>> Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.
by Katie B.
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The list of upcoming field trips written on the chalkboard at the beginning of Knox College’s Food Systems class included a tour of Pioneer Seed Company (second-largest seed producer after Monsanto) and a trip to the John Deere museum. At the beginning of his lecture about the rise of agricultural technology in the late 19th century (we’re talking bundle-scythes and 30-horse-drawn combines, not a 7030 Premium Small-Frame John Deere tractor), the professor described a map: Des Moines to the west, St. Louis to the south, Chicago to the east. American Agricultural technologies developed within that triangle, and Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois is smackdab in the middle.
Upon arriving at Knox, we were greeted by a student who quickly gave us the lay of the land. “Galesburg is pretty impoverished,” she explained, “there used to be a Maytag factory here, but there has been lots of unemployment since it closed.” We later learned of student research about food deserts in the community, a phenomenon that is not as commonly associated with small, rural towns. However, the student continued, “I came here from Massachusetts, thinking there would be nothing to do here so I would focus more on my school work. But there is so much happening in Knox and in the Galesburg community!”