Root’s founder loves collaborating with folks near and far on all kinds of food-related projects. Here are some examples of ways we can work together:
–Events: I’m always excited to to build collaborative events with partners in the hospitality industry, events management companies, nonprofits, and more. These include pop ups, interactive cultural heritage experiences, curated exhibitions in tandem with meals, talks, menus/guidance for weddings and other milestone events, and more.
–Fermentation Projects: Workshops, one-on-one guidance (both remote and in person), custom made ferments, and research support. Fermentation is one of our most powerful, and most ancient food preservation technologies, and unlocks new flavors, health benefits, and cost savings. I would love to help you learn how!
–Consulting for Creative/Research Projects: Food is absolutely pivotal to every experience we encounter as humans, both individually and communally. Our cultural traditions, family and community structures, and health (among other things) are all heavily intertwined with food. I use my interdisciplinary background to create a big-picture understanding of the world you are building or hoping to recreate, offering research-driven feedback that engages my passion for food and its power in supporting storytelling.
This includes (but is not limited to!): work with filmmakers (as a research consultant as well as physically set dressing food/related items), offering research guidance and feedback for museum exhibits and programming, and offering research support to visual artists using food as an element in their work.
–Workshops and Menus: Do you need help making a historic menu for your dinner party? Curious what ingredients to include in a dish you want to make for a few friends? Want to learn a new skill, or have a few folks over to learn together? I’m available for hire as a consultant to build your menus, help with planning your gathering, cooking instruction, and more.
–Community Building: I am always eager to collaborate with others who are doing cool work to strengthen our communities, whether that is in Atlanta (where I am) or elsewhere. If you have an idea for collaborating and are working with community gardens, nonprofits, arts organizations, food justice organizations, libraries, or any other community building organization, I would love to hear from you.
–Cookbook and Recipe Collections: I have worked as an rare books curator, an archivist, and library science instructor, with an emphasis on historic materials and (you guessed it) food. I offer the following services in this area: Rare book collection appraisals, guidance on collecting in a certain area (subject, time period, etc.), assessments of archival collections, and preservation advice.
I also offer preservation advice, collection organization, and guidance on interpreting recipes for family recipe and cookbook collections.
–Your Personal Food History: I offer assistance to those looking to learn more about their own food heritage, by offering reading material, recipes, and other assistance as applicable to help them discover the foods that would have been eaten by their ancestors in America and around the world. This service includes extensive research into both food and its cultural contexts, along with recipes and food preparation guidance to help them prepare the foods similar to what their ancestors would have eaten.
-Ready to connect? Have an idea for another way we can work together? I’m all ears: let’s talk!
My work has appeared in FoodStuff, Medium, Science News, Eat Sip Trip, Indiana Food Review, as well as in two books: Modernizing Markham (Candle Light Press, 2012) and Afternoon Tea: A History (Rowman & Littlefield: forthcoming). I have consulted for events, programs, and research projects large and small, and pull from my strengths across disciplines to create successful and unique collaborations. You can see the rest of my work and research experience here!
“Julia Skinner has a bit of the mad scientist about her, because she is fearless in her enjoyment and exploration of food and its history. I have many times looked for her footprints to guide me through strange places.” -John Ira Thomas, author and publisher for Candle Light Press
“I love cooking, and I love history. Root checks both boxes for me!” -Ashley Waterstadt, owner, Dark Side Coffee Shop
I’m a food historian, artist, teacher, curator, researcher, world traveler, and more. I’ve purposefully sought out a lot of experiences, and built up some diverse skills sets, so that I can use all of them to tackle big problems creatively and collaboratively.
Building my community, whether it’s my neighborhood, my city, my classroom, or academic discipline, is my central focus no matter what. I am always looking for ways to facilitate learning, get people involved in something they care about, and to spark excitement and curiosity.
My dedication to community and curiosity shows up across all my work, as a scholar, artist, business owner, and a teacher.
I love teaching, and feel incredibly fortunate to regularly work with amazing and inspiring students and colleagues. I teach classes at several universities for undergraduates and graduate students. My focus is on dynamic, collaborative classrooms that prepare students to think deeply and critically, while also thinking contextually.
I use this same dynamic and interactive approach in my community classes and events. As a food historian, my work is rooted in the belief that food is a powerful tool for human connection and memory. This appears in my research, my teaching (both academic instruction and skills workshops), and in my latest art projects.
My artistic training is in calligraphy, book art, and 2D art. I consider my work an organic, growing thing, and as such new media and new themes often get folded in. You can see some of my work here.
I earned my doctorate in Information Studies from Florida State University in 2015. Most of my research focuses on how we engage with change in various contexts, and my work cuts across several disciplinary areas in the Humanities and Social Sciences. This includes theory testing and theory building, which you can learn more about here and here if you feel like getting nerdy.
One of my research areas is (of course) food history, with an emphasis on English history but also with nods to American food history and the food of other former English colonies. My work has explored this from a range of perspectives, including through the lens of technology, trade, and social change (like my 2012 book, Modernizing Markham), and through the lens of social change and the spread of food traditions through colonialism (which will be a part of my new book, Afternoon Tea: A History, coming in 2018).
Like the rest of my work, my food history work is part theory and part practice, and involves getting in the kitchen or getting out in the community and learning (or trying to teach others) how to make a historic dish, just as often as it involves sitting with research materials and watching the story of that dish unfold.
I’m excited to share the richness and connectivity that food has brought to my life with you, and would love to hear about your favorite food experiences. Drop me a line and let’s chat!