The Month of Food Citizenship: Ringing in National Food Day at UNH
As a freshman at UNH in the fall of 2010, I worked at Holloway Commons. When I heard about the infamous Local Harvest Dinner hosted by UNH Dining, and as a blossoming Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems major, I begged my boss to let me do anything I could to be involved. Subsequently, to my initial excitement and almost as instant dismay, that meant working the event. If you’ve ever been to the dining halls on this fateful night, you won’t blame me for vowing to never work it again.
So this meant that the next year, I got to participate (though I felt the pain of my coworkers’ positions as they watched the apple crisp and chocolate truffles be promptly engulfed my the crowd). Food was flying as masses of eager students customers flooded the dining hall; elaborate stations were pouring with local cheeses, fresh fish dishes, Maine-potato French fries…alright, stop drooling. The point is, this was pretty cool: for the first time, students were more excited about trying the foods growing in their more-or-less backyards than the Cappuccino flavor being in the fro-yo machine. Not only that, but it was at this event that I was introduced to an even deeper initiative in the realm of food systems—the UNH Passport to Food Citizenship, and something very new called Food Day.
Now, the concept of having a national holiday dedicated to food may seem a little redundant to some. After all, isn’t every day food day? Don’t we “celebrate” food at breakfast, lunch and dinner? While some may consider their daily routine sufficient, one day wasn’t enough to encompass the importance of food here in the UNH community. Thus, in preparation for the annual holiday National Food Day, The Month of Food Citizenship was born.
Originating in 2011 with the UNH Passport to Food Citizenship, UNH’s dedication to local foods, good nutrition, and fair access has continued and expanded into what is now known as the Month of Food Citizenship. Passports now aside, events throughout the month are geared towards increasing awareness about nutritious food, food culture and different diets, and a more sustainable food system. The MOFC is a collaborative effort between student-led organizations, UNH Dining, and food activists throughout the seacoast community. From health epidemics such as obesity and diabetes to worker’s rights issues and climate change, the MOFC emphasizes the interconnectedness of the many hot-button issues of our time. In its third consecutive year, the MOFC has grown from involving eight student organizations to forty—ranging from the more obvious such as Slow Food UNH, to others such as MOSAICO—who offer events throughout the month in order to engage the community in celebrating food and to showcase how the issues in our food system are intertwined across all interests, cultures, and disciplines.
Be sure to take advantage of the amazing opportunities this month to expand your awareness, make new connections, and enjoy some real food! (And hopefully you made it out of the Local Harvest Dinner alive!)
Month of Food Citizenship (Sep. 17th – Oct. 24th) Selected Events:
Wednesday, 10/2 @ 4:30pm, Health Services Conference Room:
YUMEE: Your Ultimate Mindful Eating Experience (hosted by UNH Health Services)
Learn a mindfulness approach to learning how to eat rather than what to eat or what not to eat.
Tuesday, 10/8 @ 6:30-8:30pm, MUB Strafford Room:
Latino Heritage Luncheon (hosted by MOSAICO)
Authentic Hispanic food and music provides an opportunity to learn about and experience a culturally-inclusive atmosphere. Tickets will be available in the MUB Box Office.
Friday, 10/11 @ 5:30pm, The Waysmeet Center (15 Mill Rd.):
Durham Community Dinner (hosted by Waysmeet and UNH Organic Garden Club)
Join the UNH OGC in celebrating local food by enjoying a free meal of local foods, including produce from the UNH Organic Garden! Come early to volunteer.
Thursday, 10/17 @ 6:30pm in Murkland 115:
Lecture Series: Lisa Meerts, "Uganda: Stories from Africa's Fastest Growing Agricultural Economy" with an introduction by Joel Hartter, Professor of Geography
One of the many lectures in the series during the MFC. Come learn about the connections between global and local food systems!
The culminating event for this year will be held in the Strafford Room in the Memorial Union Building on Food Day (October 24th) from 12pm-3pm.
For more information on events and the Month of Food Citizenship, visit https://www.facebook.com/FoodDayUNH.
To learn more about Food Day, visit foodday.org.
-Caroline Robb, Sustainable Food Systems Task Force Ambassador