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Week educates Belles about food

Jillian Barwick | Monday, April 16, 2012

This week, Saint Mary’s students will have the opportunity to learn about the food they consume, healthy eating on a college budget and the ins-and-outs of what they eat during Food Week.

Senior Kimberly Roland, the event’s organizer, said she came up with the idea for the week when Saint Mary’s participated in National Food Day on Oct. 24, 2011. Roland serves as a Midwest regional field organizer for the Real Food Challenge, and is the sustainable food intern for the Saint Mary’s Justice Education department, which prompts her to focus on food more than the average college student.

“I wanted to expand upon the issues of [National] Food Day and turn it into an entire week,” Roland said. “I wanted to make one more final mark on Saint Mary’s before I graduated, and leave behind a strong legacy. I came up with the idea for Food Week, and my friends were all extremely supportive of it.”

Enlisting her peers to help plan Food Week was not a challenge, Roland said. The Saint Mary’s College Sustainable Food Committee was involved in event planning as well, contributing hours of work to create a week of activities and lectures pertaining to food, she said.

“I want this week to encourage discussion among students and faculty who have never thought about food as complex and interdisciplinary,” Roland said.

The week raises awareness about the many food issues in society in several ways, including film and documentary screenings, speeches, presentations, demonstrations and food itself, Roland said.

“Food Week has been established in order to educate students, faculty and staff as well as the community about the various food issues we all face,” Roland said. “Food is one of the few things in the world that connects every person. We all eat and make decisions about food daily.”

Roland said food holds much more meaning beyond its daily consumption and necessity for survival.

“People are connected to food for a variety or reasons. For some, food is pleasure and entertainment. Others are connected to food for nutritional reasons, while others encounter food allergies, or observe special food diets,” Roland said. “Still, others are connected to food for political or environmental reasons.

“Some are interested in the science of food and agriculture, while others are interested in food justice. This week seeks to touch on the various food issues that interest people.”

The Noble Family Dining Hall and Sodexo are also involved with Food Week, Roland said.

“Sodexo has been involved in every step of the way for Food Week,” Roland said. “From planning special menus, to hosting an outdoor picnic on Wednesday, Sodexo is committed to providing students with delicious, sustainable food and is working to procure more local, humane, fair trade and organic food.”

Roland said Food Week also offers students the opportunity to make sustainable purchases related to food and cooking.

“During this week, students will also be allowed to bring in reusable beverage containers into the dining hall,” Roland said. “We hope this will encourage students to invest in reusable, sustainable beverage containers.”

All Food Week events are free and open to the public, Roland said.

“I really hope this week encourages Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame students to engage with other community members that are working hard on food issues in the South Bend and Michiana areas,” Roland said. “I want community members who are interested in food and sustainability to see that college students really are interested in these issues and are becoming conscientious consumers.”

Roland said she hopes this first Food Week grows into an annual tradition in the future.

“I would love for this to become an annual event after I graduate,” Roland said. “If it continued growing when I left, I feel that it would benefit many people in the community. There are many interested students at Saint Mary’s who will continue with Food Week in the coming years.”