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Midwest Meets the World: The Complexities of International Food Aisles

Where can you find Pocky sticks five steps away from tikka masala sauce? Across much of the U.S., products hailing from across the globe find themselves crammed side by side in the international food aisle. While international food aisles can be controversial (What counts as international, or American for that matter?), they hold a special significance in the Midwest, where access to ethnic ingredients can be sparse.
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The Heartland: Illustrated Views of the Midwest

The Midwest is often maligned as being “flyover country.” Stereotypes, like people being “too nice” or there only being corn fields in every direction, paint a largely generalized and inaccurate picture of the U.S. region. It does have, however, another name: the Heartland. We are a region not only full of rich history and culture, unparalleled landscapes and stunning architecture, but also — and most importantly — full of heart.

How Wisconsin Ginseng Became a Globally Coveted Commodity

Most people know Wisconsin for its cheese—an aged cheddar in a bright red wax or an absurdly cartoonish cheese block in hat form if...

Beyond the Ruins: Toward a New Midwest Architecture (on Twitter)

Situated between a Simpsons screencap and a Suez Canal meme, an old picture of a familiar YMCA in Port Huron, Michigan populates my Twitter...

The Next Great Migration: Where Young Black Graduates See Their Futures

Over the past two centuries, African Americans have steadily migrated from the South to other regions in the United States, often because of entrenched...

The Midwestern Mall: Not Quite Gone and Not Quite Forgotten

For the last several decades, malls across the country have been closing one after another, leaving behind not only abandoned buildings, but also renewed interest in what malls mean to people, why they are disappearing in the first place and what can be done to save them (or if they should be saved at all). Toledo, Ohio, for example, remains enamored with the memory of its long-gone shopping complexes and what they meant for a thriving, mid-sized, Midwestern city. Cover graphic by Jessie Walton for Midstory.

Why Design? Principles to Shape a World in Unrest

The saying goes that you can only have two of three options: good, fast, cheap. In a world challenged by COVID-19 and other underlying unrest in 2020, however, designers are tasked with satisfying all three to solve complex societal issues. This piece outlines how formal and informal design can shape a world in trouble, and attempts a more human response to extraordinary circumstances. Cover graphic by Whitney Baxter for Midstory.

My Long-distance Love for Ohio

The word Ohio is one that elicits conflicting emotions and thoughts in me. The state is my home but also a place I’ve sought to leave. It’s a source of both pride and frustration. Leaving for college and then returning on a quasi-temporary basis has helped define the nature of my relationship with Ohio—one that’s been aided by distance. José Pablo Fernández García is a sophomore at Princeton University, currently residing in his hometown outside of Cincinnati during the pandemic. (Part I of a two-part series.)

Charity Appeal: Celebrity Influence in Times of Crisis

It might seem counterintuitive that entertainment and cultural icons thrive during tremendous times of hardship, but history has proven it true.  During the Great Depression,...

Toledo’s Timeline Historians

Vintage whiskey bottles, faded newspaper clippings and lengthy historical descriptions are perhaps most likely to be found in a small, eclectic museum. But Toledo, Ohio’s history buffs have found an unlikely place for archiving, research and lasting connection: Facebook. With as many as 15,000+ members and 20+ posts a day that garner hundreds of comments and reactions in a single group, the community is one of the most lively public forums in the mid-sized Midwestern town.

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