Cardinals Become Foodies

Did you know that sugar cream could become the official state pie of Indiana?

A group of Ball State students publicized this tasty tidbit as well as lobbied for a name change. It makes sense that if sugar cream is truly the state pie, it should be called "Hoosier pie." The Indiana State Senate agreed, passing a resolution in January 2009.

Making the case for new state symbols is just one aspect of a Building Better Communities Fellows (formerly Business Fellows) course with the Indiana Foodways Alliance to promote culinary tourism and enhance its economic impact. The National Restaurant Association projects 2011 sales in Indiana will be $8.6 billion, adding that every $1 spent in Indiana’s restaurants generates an additional $1.06 in sales for the state economy.

As part of this yearlong, immersive learning course, the students launched a website for Indiana Foodways and developed content. The interdisciplinary team produced broadcast-quality food stories and developed plans for fundraisers, creating and designing a quarterly newsletter, developing a food-photography resource library, and building a database that lists Indiana-made foods. Printed materials, including culinary trail maps, were also created.

"My connection to the hometown cooking of my grandma's restaurant and my dad's farm drew me to this project," says Hillary Tribbett from Lafayette, Indiana. "I not only learned about Hoosier food facts, but I also picked up a couple of recipes along the way. I believe many people will benefit from our efforts."

Thanks to the students' efforts, foodies—people who plan trips based on foods—living or visiting in Indiana will soon be able to amble along tea room, tenderloin, and pie trails. They'll also be able to follow their taste buds down routes with themes of pork, peppermint, popcorn, and persimmons.

One such route—the Sweet Temptations Trail—leads travelers to candy stores such as Union City's Ghyslain Chocolatier and Charlie's Caramel Corn and Candy Shop in Vincennes.

Related Links:

Building Better Communities

College of Communication, Information, and Media

Department of Journalism

Immersive Learning

Public Relations