Food Immigrants: From Commercial success to Heritage Tourism
The Fairmont State University 2014 ATP project addressed the unique concept of studying Italian food immigrants and how those traditional foods brought to North Central West Virginia in the early 20th century continue to be used in both family and commercial settings. Students identified selected food types and their Italian origins plus conducted research and inquiried with current regional Italian-American businesses and organizations that promote their Italian heritage and culture through the sales or celebration of these foodways. Students traced the history of selected Italian food heritages from their origin in Southern Italy (as a part of the travel/study program to Southern Italy in summer 2014) to their immigrant arrival in North Central West Virginia in the early 20th century. Students also researched how these foods have been used as successful economic endeavors and formulated a model of how historic awareness, economic success, and more specific understandings can be used for incorporating traditional foodways (along with value added concepts, such as family recipes and history, visual images that tell individual and family stories [early photographs], and celebrations attached to food) in a more creative and educational application for regional festivals, businesses, and programs promoting cultural heritage tourism.
Judy Byers, Ph.D.
Director, West Virginia Folklife Center
Fairmont State University
1201 Locust Avenue
Fairmont, WV 26554
Telephone: (304) 367-4286
Previous Conference Participation: 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009