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A team from the University of Winnipeg have hit the road in hopes of finding out about the history of food in Manitoba.

Their research approach is quite unique.

The team, lead by University of Winnipeg history professor Janis Thiessen, will spend the summer in a food truck travelling to three regions of Manitoba, including Steinbach, Winnipeg and the Parkland region.

Thiessen says the goal of the project is to produce a comprehensive history of food manufacturing, production, retailing, and consumption in the province of Manitoba from 1870 to the present day.

"So many aspects of food history touch on every other aspect of history. If you study the history of a particular food item, I usually touch on immigration history and the history of public policy, ethnic history and so many other aspects, so by studying food, you really study all of history," explained Thiessen.

Through creating this project, Thiessen says they realized that a lot of food production and consumption happens at home.

"Rather than awkwardly inviting ourselves into peoples private spaces, we are inviting them to step on board the Food History Truck, where they will cook a meal that has some meaning for them and their family, while we interview them about their lives. And then rather than just producing journal articles and reaching an academic audience, we also want to reach the general public, so we are producing a podcast series called Preserves. We are also producing a series of story maps," said Thiessen.

According to Thiessen, this project will last over the next several years.

"There is just so much to cover that it is impossible to summarize at this point. There is so many businesses that have left for long times in this province and then have faded from memory. We hope to recoup some of those memories. There are also the stories of individuals in the homes who, generation after generation, go about their business and it never becomes a public story. We are hoping to also uncover some of those stories," explained Thiessen.

Those interested in participating are encouraged to make an appointment

The trucks first stop will be in Steinbach, from June 19th, 2018 until July 7th, 2018. They will also be at the St. Norbert Farmers Market the last two Wednesdays in August.

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