Week Four: Culture – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week Four: Culture

Culture is a term is that is defined in various ways by different people. To sociologists, culture is defined as the beliefs, objects, behaviors, and other characteristics that are common to members of a particular group or society. These practices distinguish one group from another and include language, customs, values, and etc. While interning at FoodLab, I have been engulfed in the FoodLab culture.

The norms within FoodLab are always vibrant and positive. If a problem arises, someone is sure to come with a solution to it fairly quickly. Working together and communication are probably two things that are very important to the completion of tasks. Without these, FoodLab would not be functioning the way it is now. 

When I first started working at FoodLab, I had a rather difficult time adjusting to the schedule. I do not say this in any negative light because my supervisor, Jess, allows me to work from anywhere and not have to go to the Green Garage unless I have a meeting. In the past, I have never been given such a flexible schedule or set of rules. Rather, I was told where to be and what times. This newfound freedom felt foreign and weird, but it did not take me too long to become accustomed to it. The culture of FoodLab is easy going and I can say that because of this, creative juices from everyone’s brain are allowed to flow freely; no one’s ideas and/or proposals are shot down. Rather, several different ideas are incorporated together to create a well-rounded proposal. 

This is such a difficult topic to blog about because many of the cultural cues that are so evident in society seem to become blurred at FoodLab. Our team is made up of people from all over the country and world. The range of ages is not too wide or narrow — I guess it’s just right. Apart from the five other women who I work alongside with, FoodLab has one male employee. However, since FoodLab is not the traditional workplace, gender differences are not seen — except, I guess, when we had to use Colin’s superpower lifting skills to transport tables from Ss. Peters and Paul to BASE Celebration. Other than that, everyone is treated equally and their ideas are given the same amount of importance. 

Above all else, FoodLab is a culture of love; love each other, love the community, love the Earth, and love the nutritious and delicious foods! 

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