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ESF's Dr. Benette Whitmore launches Funky Foodies, Inc. Podcast in Partnership with WCNY/PBS 9/16/2022

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Top, from left, Tyler Dorholt, Jason Kohlbrenner, Tom McGrath. Bottom row, Dr. Benette Whitmore.

Dr. Benette Whitmore-Environmental Studies faculty member and online graduate program coordinator-exudes contagious energy when talking about her newest project, the Funky Foodies podcast.

"I've been thinking about food studies as an environmental, social, and cultural issue," she explains, "and I thought it would be cool to present these issues through the universal channel of food! My goal is to make learning accessible and fun. Not only will listeners take away some great nuggets of information, but each episode has a kid-friendly recipe tied to it."

Benette is the writer, director, and producer of the podcast, which she created specifically for young people who want to improve the world through environmental practices associated with food. Think: sustainable agriculture, food recovery, and preparing healthy meals.

"My hope is that listeners start to see the connection between their food choices and the impact those choices have on the environment," she said. "This is a great way to expose young people to environmental issues through the lens of food and fun."

Stories are told through the voices of Frankie and Fern, who share their first encounter at the middle school cafetorium and discover their mutual interest in food as it relates to environmental concerns. They form an alliance, pledging to "Save the Planet, One Veggie Burger at a Time" by taking action that can really make a difference, thereby empowering other kids to know that they can be impactful, as well.

The 10-episode podcast launches at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 on WCNY 91.3 HD, will be hosted on WCNY.org, and can be streamed on Spotify.

Funky Foodies is made possible through a generous donation from the Randolph G. Pack Foundation. Affiliated with the Environmental Studies Department at ESF, the Pack Foundation was established to create and disseminate knowledge about environmental concerns of high public interest. Benette worked with Jason Kohlbrenner and Tyler Dorholt in ESF's Digital Storytelling Studio to produce, record, and edit each episode. ESF faculty member Tom McGrath produced music and sound design. ESF student Sami Cavalier manages social media for the project.

Here's the season lineup:

  • EP 1: Pilot "Craving that Crispy Cricket Crunch"
  • EP 2: "Izzy & the Buzzing Bee Caper"
  • EP 3: "Frankie & Fern and the Science Fair Pickle"
  • EP 4: "Serving up a Food Recovery Program"
  • EP 5: "Standing up for Vertical Farming"
  • EP 6: "Vending Machine Takeover"
  • EP 7: "Izzy Dives into Seaweed"
  • EP 8: "Glow Earns Five Stars in Organics"
  • EP 9: "Henry Tries to Sink the Aquaponics Field Trip"
  • EP 10: "Izzy's Pop-up Pancake Party"

When Benette is not in the podcast studio, she's teaching courses in Environmental Education and Interpretation, and coordinating ESF's online graduate certificate program in Science & Environmental Communication and Public Relations Management. She's published seven children's books and written 35 episodes of an award-winning PBS children's television show. She has a PhD in Cultural Foundations of Education from Syracuse University.

To follow the latest happenings, follow Funky Foodies @funky_foodies_inc and check out the website at funkyfoodies.org

Listen to new episodes of the podcast on Spotify or WCNY starting tomorrow.