ThinkFOOD Conference at Simon’s Rock Focuses on Food Activism

student food activism(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – The second annual ThinkFOOD Conference, presented by the Center for Food Studies at Simon’s Rock College, will be held on Saturday, April 11, 2015. This year’s theme is “The Future of Food Activism: Issues and Answers to Hunger in the Berkshires.” Central to this year’s ThinkFOOD theme is the idea that the future of food justice lies with students. Co-sponsored by the Nutrition Center, the conference will feature a keynote address by Andrew Morehouse, executive director of the Food Bank of Western Mass., and two panel presentations:

Hunger in the Berkshires, a discussion of the faces of local hunger, what systems are in place to serve vulnerable populations, and what gaps exist in the services. Moderated by Andrew Morehouse, the panel will feature panelists Wendy Krom, Berkshire Interfaith Organizing; a representative from The Christian Center; and, Caroline Wheeler, founder, Sisters for Peace.

Community Garden Activism, examining whether community gardening can work in tandem with other social services to provide solutions to hunger in theBerkshires. This panel will be moderated by Billie Best, president of Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires, and will feature panelists Will Conklin, director of Greenagers; Meryl Joseph, director/producer of “City Farmers”; Pastor Russell Moody, Pittsfield Church of Christ; and, Jennifer Muñoz, founder, Growing Healthy Garden Program.

Central to this year’s ThinkFOOD theme is the idea that the future of food justice lies with students. The conference hopes to educate and inspire the community and Simon’s Rock students to work together to find solutions to food security issues. The event will include food activism presentations by Simon’s Rock students from their Spring Break projects.

Due to limited seating, registration is required for the ThinkFOOD conference. For more information about the Center for Food Studies and to register for the conference, visit the Center for Food Studies.

Prior to the conference, the Center for Food Studies will host a screening of Meryl Joseph’s documentary, “City Farmers,” on Thursday, April 9, at 7 p.m. in the Simon’s Rock Lecture Center. This event is free and open to the public.

Participants in thinkFOOD 2014

Participants in thinkFOOD 2014

Future projects for the Center for Food Studies include new food-related courses by faculty, further development of the campus community garden program, regular film screenings/lectures and discussions, and establishment of regular food-related internships.

The Center for Food Studies continues to provide a forum for collaboration, communication and learning across a variety of food realms by offering for-credit courses within existing Simon’s Rock programs; collaborating with community partners to sponsor lectures, conferences and other educational events on campus and across the region; creating opportunities for students and local organizations to benefit from internships and other work/study arrangements; and, partnering creatively on and off campus to develop awareness of critical issues related to food, leading to productive connections and action.

The Center for Food Studies at Simon’s Rock is headed by Professor Maryann Tebben. Dr. Tebben’s work in food studies stems from her research in French literature, and she recently published a book in this area entitled Sauces: A Global History (Reaktion Books, 2014).  Her article on the history of French dessert is forthcoming in Gastronomica.

Bard College at Simon’s Rock is the nation’s only four-year residential college of the liberal arts and sciences specifically designed for bright, motivated students ready to begin college after the tenth or eleventh grade. Students are taught exclusively in small seminars by a supportive, highly trained faculty. Degrees are granted in more than 40 areas of study. Most graduates proceed to earn graduate and professional degrees at highly selective universities. Simon’s Rock was founded in 1966 and joined the Bard College network in 1979.

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