Undergraduate Researches Alabama Food History

Rachel Remmes

Rising Senior Rachel Remmes participated in the Department’s Honors Thesis program last year, completing a thesis under Dr. Charles Clark entitled “Southern Alabama’s Corn, Peanut, and Wheat Agriculture in the 20th Century and 21st Century Trends.” Remmes, a Secondary Education – Social Sciences and History major, says she has “always been interested in food as a representation of culture and the environment.” After taking a course on natural resource management, she was drawn to investigating the allocation of agricultural resources, specifically the staples of southern cuisine: corn, wheat, and peanuts.

Most of Remmes’ research was drawn from USDA data, which showed general trends in annual crop yields, as well as information on the evolution of pest control and harvest methods for these crops. Additionally, she deals with some of the “particularly difficult issues farmers faced with these crops.”

By studying the history of agriculture, Remmes says, we can better plan for the future. Potential issues of rising population and decreasing arable land are foreshadowed through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Remmes hopes that this research will uncover “effective methods in the past that can inform effective methods of the future to meet these demands.”

Remmes graduates Spring 2019, and says she currently plans to take a gap year to teach and then return for graduate school, either to pursue a law degree or a masters in social sciences education, educational neuroscience, or history.

The Department is very proud of Rachel’s continued work, and we wish her the best of luck as she finishes her time with us at UA this year!