The Manitoba Food History Project is a SSHRC-funded oral history project based out of the University of Winnipeg. The goal of our project team is to produce a comprehensive history of food manufacturing, production, retailing, and consumption in the province of Manitoba from 1870 to the present day. The two driving questions behind the research are:
“How has food been produced, sold, and consumed in Manitoba?”
“How has this changed over time?”
The first four years of the project will focus on three geographic areas: 1) Steinbach 2) Winnipeg 3) the Parkland region. Our research approach is unique. The majority of work in food history draws almost exclusively on written sources; our approach will be to use oral history interviews conducted on the Manitoba Food History Truck.
The Food History Truck (owned and operated in partnership with Diversity Foods) will travel to these three regions of Manitoba so that our project team –– including food history students and research assistants––can conduct life-story interviews with Manitobans while they cook local, historical, meaningful recipes aboard the truck. These oral histories will help to inform our understanding of the business, labour, ethnic, Indigenous, and local histories within the province of Manitoba.
Throughout our project we will be working toward producing a variety of research outcomes that will provide opportunities for students, meaningful contributions to scholarly research in food history, and engaging and accessible representations of Manitoba’s food history. This will include a collection of oral history sources (to be archived at the Oral History Centre at the University of Winnipeg), experiential learning courses in business history & food history at the University of Winnipeg, digital stories and vignettes of Manitoba food history, pop-up exhibits and public events, a podcast series on Manitoba food history, and a Food History Truck cookbook.
All outcomes will be documented or made available here, on the Manitoba Food History Website.