Nana’s Shopping List

Taylor Kelly, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design

For my senior thesis project, I am creating a short film about unethical food marketing towards communities of color and low income and food related disease. I am demonstrating these issues through the story of my grandmother. She has lived in the city of Chicago all her life and is currently suffering from Alzheimers which in part is from her diet. I will support her story with evidence and commentary from medical professionals, farmers, food-based communities, and a food activist

It is necessary to include diverse perspectives of personal stories and expertise throughout the film so every viewer can relate and learn. I’m including medical expertise on food’s link to disease from Dr. Monica Vela and ethical farming advice from Professor Joseph Trumpey. I also will include food activist LaDonna Redmond. She can provide a different lens into the fight for food accessibility and proper food marketing in the city of Chicago. Since there is a wide range of sources, there is the challenge of keeping everyone’s insights connected to the story of my grandmother. However, I believe by asking some of the same questions among such different people, I can set a space for a cohesive and concentrated narrative.

Short films are mostly utilized for the experimentation and “proof-of-concept” for securing larger projects, their condensed structure permits for more focused learning opportunities. The limited time duration is a powerful aspect of short films that it can focus on complex problems such as poor food consumption, within larger systematic issue(s) of the food industry. Nana’s grocery list could potentially be part of a larger video project discussing food and food system issues. Video is one of the best mediums to tell stories because the fusion of audio and visuals is dramatic, inspiring and memorable. 

I want to expose student viewers to groups within the school like the U-M Campus Farm and FISA (Food Industry Student Association). I also want to show groups outside of the school that are doing similar things but on a larger scale, such as People’s Food Co-op and or the Argus Farm Stop. These local communities in Ann Arbor are fighting for ethical food practices and accessible food rights. The content of my film is not only laying out the issues caused by the food industry, but solutions that all groups of people can make and be involved in. I want people to understand these issues to pave a potential avenue for other imaginative solutions and steps toward transforming communities.