Encouraging the HWS community to think more critically about the relationship between their food and the environment, Food Week 2015 will include a series of events celebrating locally and sustainably grown food across the Finger Lakes region. The week kicks off on Saturday, Oct. 17 and will culminate on national Food Day, Saturday, Oct. 24, coinciding with HWS’ October Day of Service when students will head to several food and agriculture sites across Geneva.
“HWS Food Week is an opportunity for the HWS community and surrounding residents to reconnect with the food we eat,” says Sarah Meyer, community outreach coordinator for the Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) and chair of the Food Week Coordinating Committee. “The series of events will give us a chance to celebrate that nine percent of the food served on campus is categorized as “real” food – defined nationally as food that is sustainable and locally sourced– as we also contemplate ways we can improve our percentage of “real” food through support of the local agricultural economy and environment.”
This year, Food Week will highlight the Real Food Challenge, a national sustainability project to shift existing university food budgets away from industrial farms and toward local, fair and humane food sources. On campus, the HWS Real Food Challenge Working Group advocates for the Colleges to sign the Real Food Campus Commitment that would improve the campus food system and ensure that at least 20 percent of food served on campus meets the qualifications for “real” food by 2020. The FLI, Sodexo Dining Services, and HWS Office of Sustainability have partnered to support the Real Food Challenge as the student initiative moves forward.
With opportunities to buy local, learn from growers, interact with food manufacturers, plant and harvest crops, consume “real” food, watch films, and consider the national and global issues within the food system, Meyer says she hopes students feel “fulfilled participating and interacting in our local food system” as they expand the effort to advocate for “real” food.
Anchoring the Food Week 2015 events will be a lecture from Gene Baur, co-founder of the Farm Sanctuary and nationally known author and activist, on Monday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Vandervort Room. The Farm Sanctuary is a national organization that spreads awareness on the realities of factory farming, and rescues animals from factory farms. Baur’s talk will focus on his 2015 book, “Living the Farm Sanctuary Life,” as he discusses how to best maintain a plant-based diet, engage in a mindful connection with animals and food, and eat plants for personal health and for the health of the earth.
“This talk will be incredibly important in the discussion about the human aspect of real food on our campus,” says President of the Sustainable Foods Club Pascale Grossnickle ’16, the event organizer. “I think that Food Week overall will be crucial in educating students about the impact of their food choices, discussing the importance of the Real Food Challenge, and how we can make our goals a reality.”
Throughout the week, there will be several opportunities for students to put Baur’s call for more sustainable diets into action through events and meals featuring local produce in Saga Dining Hall. On Monday, Oct. 19, the Showtime Station will feature a “Meatless Monday” vegetarian lunch and dinner, while Apple Fest in Saga will include apple tastings, cider and baked goods using apples from Red Jacket Orchards in Geneva.
Giving students a taste of how using local ingredients is healthier for themselves and the environment, a “Pride of N.Y. Meal” using locally sourced ingredients will be served at dinner on Tuesday, Oct. 20, while the movie, “Food for Thought, Food for Life,” will be shown as students enjoy their meal.
At lunch and dinner on Wednesday, Oct. 21, Eco-Reps will conduct a “Weigh the Waste” food audit at Saga to calculate the amount of post-consumer waste produced in Saga on a given day. Saga will also go “trayless” throughout the week to reduce food and water waste.
To help students be more cognizant of where their food comes from, students will have the opportunity to harvest cabbage to be donated to local food banks and community lunch programs on Saturday, Oct. 17.
A lunar gardening and star-lore event at the HWS Fribolin Farm on Tuesday, Oct. 20 will also give students a unique opportunity to plant their own vegetables while learning how the moon cycles affect growth and yield. At dusk, students and the community can plant garlic and later enjoy moon cookies, stargazing, and star-lore stories.
The HWS Farmers’ Market, held at the Scandling Campus Center Café Patio on Friday, Oct. 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will allow students to interact with local farmers while purchasing their products. Vendors will sell produce, bread, tea, jam, jelly, honey, herbs, eggs, oils, maple products, baked goods, and more.
Students are encouraged to share their Food Week 2015 experiences throughout the week through the Food Week photo contest with #HWSFoodWeek. Prizes are available for the top three photos. Student members of the he Sustainable Foods Club, Real Food Challenge Working Group, EcoReps, and students in the ‘Food, Feminism and Health’ class will be tabling throughout the week with a poster campaign and educational materials on the ecological and social justice concerns of our food system.
Food Week celebrations will culminate on Food Day, a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food that will occur on campuses across the country on Saturday, Oct. 24. Here at HWS, the community will celebrate through a Day of Service with volunteer sites that echo the Food Day theme of food access and justice, by working in community gardens at Mt. Olive Community Baptist Church and the local egg co-op, Geneva Peeps. At 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, students are also invited to participate in the Big Apple Crunch, a national effort to set the world record for the “most participants in an apple-crunching event.”
“Food Week is about including anyone who wants to be involved with more sustainable food because food and sustainability are issues that impact everyone,” says Sustainability Manager Adam Maurer. “Food Week has transformed from just a few small events a couple years ago to a week-long celebration of local, sustainable, healthy, affordable, accessible food for all.”