It Takes More Than a Day to Observe Food Day

From: Public Affairs

Driving through the Shenandoah Valley, it’s hard to escape the striking sight of lush field crops blowing in the wind and farm-grazing animals. With a strong presence of local agriculture within the community, James Madison University is preparing for Food Day, a celebration advocating healthy, affordable and sustainably produced food, from Oct. 24-27.

Food Day seeks to bring families, health professionals, chefs and local officials together in honor of the abundant landscape and to spread awareness of the benefits of purchasing and consuming local foods. The celebration recognizes individuals who work hard to sustain agriculture in the Shenandoah Valley.

“The Valley is fortunate to have numerous committed farmers and chefs who recognize the importance of sourcing food locally. Food Day allows participating businesses, organizations and individuals to engage and promote healthy eating habits within the community,” said Harrisonburg Farmers Market Assistant Manager Justin van Kleeck.

Stewardship and sustainability
While Food Day is recognized as a single day nationally, JMU will host a week of free events in conjunction with the Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World. ISNW is committed to enhancing the community’s understanding of the social, scientific and economic issues relevant to ecological health and encourages members to think critically about their roles in the long-term stewardship of Earth.

“The ISNW supports dialogue and critical thinking about environmental stewardship and sustainability. The events provide a context for learning about the complexity of sustainability and the effect of our everyday decisions on our environment,” said ISNW Executive Director Christie-Joy Hartman.

Abundance and awareness
Food Day will kick off with a canned food drive on The Commons and Warren Patio from noon-5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24. Dining facility tours will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. For reservations, email stewardship@jmu.edu.

A student-produced documentary, “The Farm Course," will premiere at the Memorial Hall Auditorium from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25. The documentary covers the sustainable cultivation that is part of the farm internship program offered at JMU, and will be followed by a discussion.

“American Meat,” a documentary featuring farming, agriculture and health topics, as well as farmers, restaurants and chefs from the Shenandoah Valley, will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, in Memorial Hall Auditorium. A panel discussion and food reception will follow.

Dr. Richard Oppenlander, author of “Comfortably Unaware,” will conclude the Food Day events with a global food lecture from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, in Showker Hall, room 105. “I am excited that students have helped to organize the Food Day events, which are coordinated with local and national food initiatives. The multitude of events and topics offers something for everyone,” said Hartman.

For more information about the Food Day celebration, visit:
The Shenandoah Food Day Blog
JMU Food Day Facebook Page
Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World

By Lisl Magboo ('12), Public Affairs Intern

October 21, 2011