Field Guides to Food

Bio Page

Picture of Matt Gunther

Matt Gunther

I am a PhD student at the University of Minnesota, where I study sociology with a research focus on constructions of community at work in the food system. I'm particularly interested in organizations that work with immigrant farmers in local supply chains.

In an earlier life, I helped run a large community garden program in my hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska. Since then, I've also worked as an organizer for an NGO that specializes in rural development and conservation policy in the Great Plains region.

Now that I'm often teaching sociology to undergraduate students, I'm always on the lookout for materials that can bring new perspectives and ways of knowing into the college classroom. I like to think of the FoodWords site as a sandbox where I can try all sorts of media in varying combinations as I try to build curricula for my students. My modules are usually designed to bring sociological concepts from the food system into the classroom, but it's also my hope that they will challenge the flimsy trope of classroom achievement by encouraging students - and site visitors - to legitimize non-academic sources of social value. I think that makes me drawn to sources where I see people wrestling to justify their own beliefs and assumptions.