For grocery shoppers, the days of having two main choices of apples - the green Granny Smith or the Red Delicious - are a thing of the past.
"People are becoming very interested in variety and in having different sources of foods," said Shane Hamilton, a University of Georgia historian who is coming to speak next week at Kansas University. "People are thinking about the source of their food in a way that Americans really didn't throughout much of the 20th century."
Hamilton, who studies the role the government's farm policies played in the rise of agribusiness and the supermarket, will speak at 7 p.m. April 12 in the Burge Union as part of a conference titled "Selling Our Daily Bread: Farmers, Consumers and the American Grocery System."
The event also includes a 2:30 p.m. panel discussion at the Burge Union.
Panelists include Jim Lewis, general manager of Checkers grocery; Jeanie Wells, general manager of the Community Mercantile; Tom Giessel, a grain grower from Pawnee County; and William Nelson, a representative of the Minnesota-based CHS Foundation, which is an underwriter for the event.
Panelist Dennis Karney, a KU business professor, said it's an exciting but challenging time for people in the food business.
"You really have to be a smart businessperson right now and know the potential customer. What do they eat? What do they look for?" Karney said. "I think the more choices we can give the consumer, the better it is for everybody."
The conference is co-sponsored by KU's history department and the Kansas branch of the National Farmers Union.