ACS History Project Revived

Having a meaningful creative endeavor manifest always seems a bit like magic. Having a project come back around for a second time, when creatively and energetically prepared to manifest it, is like a dream. Telling a compelling and uplifting story that celebrates people I admire is just the thing to counteract the barrage of negative that has been so much the norm lately.

The ACS History Project 2016 expands on the ACS at 25: Looking Forward, Looking Back, a project I started in 2007-08 when, as a new member of the American Cheese Society board, I realized I knew very little about the people who founded the organization I was now committed to serving.

Despite the awkward camera angles and mediocre sound, I knew that the story was important and, regardless of my technical challenges, I was compelled to forge onward.

When embarking on this latest round of interviews, I took the micro-cassettes out of storage and digitized them. I rediscovered an incredible record of the cheese industry in 2008 and captured stories that might otherwise have been lost forever. (Release of long format interviews from 2007/8 is in the works (including interviews with Daphne Zepos, Debra Dickerson, Allison Hooper, Paul Kindsedt, Ricki Carrol, Ari Weinzweig and many others, so stay tuned!)

This time around, I’ve been asked to produce an updated version focusing on the more recent history of the organization. A lot has changed since 2008!

During the Des Moines conference, my small crew and I will capture many facets of the judging & competition and conference, along with extended interviews with more than 30 ACS leaders who have shaped and are shaping the society and wider cheese industry. Narrowing the list to a manageable size was no small task and it is clear this project will extend beyond Des Moines.

The goal is to capture a snapshot of ACS and cheese history in 2016. To do this, the story will focus on 5 key narratives:

  • Growth & Evolution of ACS and the American Cheese industry
  • ACS Judging & Competition/Awards & Festival
  • Keeping it Raw & Traditional: the CCC and Regulatory Climate
  • Cheese Education: ACEF and CCP exam
  • Cross Cultural Exchange – ACS and the world cheese community

There will also be serendipitous opportunities for a wider segment of the membership to participate onsite and in future interviews.

If you have something you’d like to share about your experience with ACS as an attendee, judge, award winner, CCP, or volunteer (past and present), please start by filling out this brief interview survey and video release. This will help us get in touch with you onsite with opportunities to participate.

We will have a window of time when we will select a number of individuals for 5 minute “Flash Interviews”.

Wednesday – 4:30 – 5:30 – CCPs
Friday – 3:30 – 4:30 – Judges, past & present
Friday – 6:30 – 7:30 – 2016 Award Winners

Upon survey completion, your name will be added to a list of possible interviewees. Though we likely won’t be able to get to everyone in Des Moines, we anticipate future opportunities for participation.

The first interview segments will premiere during American Cheese Month, 2016.

Want to receive periodic updates about this project, sign up here.