Over the course of this coming week, March 7-12, Oberlin will host a wide variety of students, organizations, staff and community members focusing on one of the more unifying aspects of human culture: food.
Food Committee Co-Chairs College junior Erin Swenson-Klatt and College senior Julia Munson began organizing this weeklong event back in November. They began by reaching out to organizations on campus that deal with food and food issues and soon Swenson-Klatt and Munson found themselves with a schedule of programs including film screenings, panel discussions and cheese tastings.
“One of the reasons we’re putting on a Food Week right now is that interest in food issues is just blossoming,” said Swenson-Klatt, citing examples such as the bestseller by Michael Pollan An Omnivore’s Dilemna and the newfound chic of frequenting the farmers’ market. “We also see that in the increasing recognition that urban gardening, sustainable farming methods, and connecting students to good food are really, really important things to support because of their positive impact on communities and local economies.”
Swenson-Klatt also pointed out that many of today’s most pressing globally-based problems — from climate change to the obesity epidemic to the rising cost of health care — are all connected by the food system.
“Growing our local food systems are going to have positive impacts on every one of those issues, because strong local food systems lead directly to the increased health of our children, environment, and local economies,” she said.
Food Week kicked off with a local foods reception and banquet earlier this evening. Issues such as how to eat seasonally in the winter, fair trade and “green” food production will be addressed throughout the week until the final event on Saturday afternoon, a group discussion on creating and planning activism-based food projects.
Hoping to involve as much of the community as possible, the Food Committee has lined up events for experts and newcomers alike. This way, Food Week is not just a general introduction to food issues — it is a chance for the experts to learn more and an opportunity for newcomers to contribute.
“This week is a time for all of us to think about what it means to eat, whether we do that a lot or haven’t really though about it at all,” said Swenson-Klatt.
For a complete list of events, go to the Slow Food Oberlin blog or check out one of the many posters around campus.