Going Local: Why What You Put in Your Brain, Body, Bag, and Backyard Matters

Going Local:  Why What You Put in Your Brain, Body, Bag, and Backyard Matters

For Homecoming Day, local horticulturalist, farmer and Anthropology professor Jeneen Wiche led a panel discussion, “Going Local! Why What You Put in Your Brain, Body, Bag, and Backyard Matters.”

To discuss the benefits of going local, we welcomed back to campus A&S alums including Louisville Public Media's executive editor Stephen George, Revelry Boutique Gallery owner Mo McKnight Howe, medical herbalist and Weeds of Eden owner Myron Hardesty, and ecologist and environmental consultant Dr. Preston Pipal.

To learn more about the joys and pitfalls of building and maintaining local media, economies and ecologies, read the profiles of our featured alumni below.

Meet the Panelists

Mo McKnight Howe
Degree: B.F.A. Fine Arts, minor in History
Occupation: Gallery Owner + Photographer

Favorite local destination: Nulu Neighborhood

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, "Going Local"? Community enrichment, knowledge of the economy, and appreciation.

Most memorable course you took at UofL and why? Drawing II with Prof. John Whitesell (Fine Arts).

What do you love about Louisville? The authenticity of the city. Although we are compared to many, we are not like any.

Robert Preston Pipal
Degree: B.S. Cell/Cellular and Molecular Biology; Ph.D. Ecology and evolutionary Biology
Occupation: Environmental consulting

Favorite local destination: Cherokee Park

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, "Going Local"? "Going Local" means building healthier and more sustainable communities that embrace the qualities that make them unique.

This involves:

  • Creating vibrant local economies that keep money in the community
  • Using local and regional resources to meet our needs when possible
  • Sustainable development that decreases urban sprawl
  • Preserving green spaces for our citizens
  • Embracing and promoting pride in our local culture
  • Fostering a sense of community and social connection

Most memorable course you took at UofL and why? Medieval History with Prof. Blake Beattie. I've always been interested in medieval history and Dr. Beattie was an incredible teacher.

What do you love about Louisville? The people.

Stephen George
Degree: B.A. English
Occupation: Executive Editor, Louisville Public Media

Favorite local destination: Carmichael's Bookstore on Longest Ave. When I was a teenager, I used to go in there (and the attached Heine Bros.) and just loiter. Sometimes I would read books or magazines, but mostly I just liked to be surrounded by all that wonderful information, all those stories.

Later, I was fortunate enough to work there, which led to me racking up both a killer home library and a pretty hefty debt.

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, "Going Local"? Food. Bookstores. Record stores. Public radio (ok, a little self-interest there). Art. Theater. Walking. Riding a bike. Parks.

These are the connective tissue of any strong community, and they all share something in common: a requirement to be present in the moment.

Most memorable course you took at UofL and why? American Lit with Prof. Beth Willey. Her love for the material grabbed me as much as what we read did.

What do you love about Louisville? I lived away for more than five years, and the thing that I always felt nostalgic about was the smell of the air in Fall. It conjures a specific set of memories for me, all warm and filled with affection.

Louisville makes me happy.

Myron Hardesty
Degree: B.A. English
Occupation: Medical Herbalist, Physician Assistant

Favorite local destination: Depending on one's definition of "local" my favorite destination is Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge during Spring Wildflower season with the Kentucky Native Plant Society

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, "Going Local"? "Going local" means Getting Grounded. For a farmer or gardener this may mean getting one’s hands dirty in the soil and cultivating life. As an Herbalist, this means becoming more familiar with local flora according to an ethic of BioRegional herbalism – or using the local plants and flora for healing purposes.

Most people are familiar with the idea of Local Food. For myself, the next step in that evolution is the cultivation of a Local Medicine. Gathering and using herbs for healing purposes reinforces our foundational connection to the earth and the immediate world around us rather than getting mesmerized by some new technology or indulging in an herbal medicine derived from far-flung places.

Most memorable course you took at UofL and why? Definitely: Stylistic Analysis. This honors class taught by eminent Yale literature scholar Prof. Dale Billingsley expanded my mind exponentially and taught me crucial critical thinking skills. I learned to look beyond superficial surface features of literature to discover the stylistic ramifications on the material content of the text within.

This would later inform my approach to Herbal Medicine whereby a combination of critical thinking and proper evaluation of symptoms in a patient granted a more precise understanding of the pathology manifest in the human organism.

What do you love about Louisville? Being the biggest "small town" of the South, and the smallest "big city" of the North. I don't know if that is an accurate description of our relative size as a community, but it tells a little bit about our geography that is very specific to our character.

The civic character provides a best of both worlds. Genteel Southern hospitality and 'horse sense" coupled with an industrious and adventurous spirit. I think it’s important to remember that during the battle between the North and South that we were still considered the original American gateway to the frontier West.