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June 25, 2018 at 9:46 am

Voinovich’s Williams Wins Best Poster for Work on Chenopodium

Daniel Williams, talking in front of his poster.

Daniel Williams

The Food Studies theme congratulates Daniel Williams on receiving the best poster award at this year’s conference of the Society for Economic Botany and the Society of Ethnobiology.

Williams is a second-year candidate in the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs’ Master of Science in Environmental Studies program. The Julia F. Morton Award is for the best poster presentation at the event.

Williams’ research focuses on the re-domestication of the ancient crop Chenopodium berlandieri, which was once a prominent crop in the Ohio River Basin. The research surrounding this plant is focused on bringing back a food source that could be an important aspect of both modern day nutrition and economy.

“Lamb’s quarters has the potential to revitalize the agricultural economy of southeast Ohio and the eastern United States,” Williams said. “It might be just a weed today, but it was one of the most important crops in North American for over 3,000 years. The unprecedented market success of quinoa, a very close relative imported from South America, proves Americans and Europeans have a palate for novel foods and ancient grains. A future domesticated variety of our native lamb’s quarters will likely be a near-perfect substitute for quinoa in recipes and in the marketplace. It will have the added benefit of stimulating rural American economies with a resilient and environmentally friendly high-value crop.”

Williams’ research project is partially funded through a grant from the Sugar Bush Foundation that brings together the work of Food Studies, Community Food Initiatives, and Rural Action, titled the Initiative for Appalachian Food & Culture. One component of this initiative supports the works of Food Studies faculty Dr. Paul Patton, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, and his research with the lost crops of the Appalachian region. This project closely aligns with the mission of the Sugar Bush foundation, which is to: “improve the quality of life in Appalachian Ohio by encouraging civic engagement and by fostering sustainable environmental and socioeconomic development.”

“Bringing back this nutritious native food is a many-year effort and will be near impossible without the dedication of partners like Sugar Bush and Food Studies who share our vision of strong food systems in southeast Ohio and believe in the potential of our research to help.”

Food studies graphic, with outlines of eggplant, tomato, corn, etc.

 

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