Campus / Food Politics / News / November 9, 2011

Getting revved about the food movement

Beaming Bioneers were encouraged to take part in the “movement of a generation,” during post-baccalaureate Helen Schnoes’ lecture entitled, “The Food Movement: Get Revved Up!”

After participating in the first harvest of the Community Garden, she decided to get involved with the food movement.

“This is what really got me excited and wanting to know more,” Schnoes said while showing a picture of her next to the harvest.

As the “movement of our generation,” Schnoes described the food movement as having two goals: “to create a food system that promotes health and protects the environment and to support individual responsibility for food choice.”

She described the different facets of the food movement, such as goals to “reduce dietary disease by promoting safe and healthy food, support sustainable farms and limit subsidies to big agribusiness, expand access to food and alleviate hunger, protect the environment and animals, promote health … and fair working conditions.”

Making up the food movement are many movements working together including the good food movement, community food security movement and school food movement. Organizations that are part of the food movement include the Food Corps, modeled after AmeriCorps, and the Fair Food Network. Schnoes said she was “really inspired” by Oran Hesterman of the Fair Food Network.

“The notion behind what he’s saying about food is that we need to move from conscious consumer to engaged citizen. And this really resonated with me,” Schnoes said.

Along with organizations working together, Schnoes emphasized the importance of connections between the grower and consumer with plants, dirt, animals and others.

“But beyond that kind of systematic and social movement angle, there’s just the physical connection between grower and consumer,” she said.

During a discussion, senior Elizabeth Cockrell said she interns with the Sustainable Business Center, continuing her internship since last year. Cockrell said there was not a definite beginning to her involvement with the food movement but that she started getting involved with clubs and the Real Food Challenge.

According to its website, the Real Food Challenge “leverages the power of youth and universities to create a healthy, fair and green food system.” With college food budgets being a $1 billion industry, the Real Food Challenge incites action amongst college students to advocate for healthier food.

Through storytelling and investigations through films such as “Food, Inc.” and “Vanishing of the Bees,” the food movement is able to reach a wider audience. Another way to expose people to the food movement is through Double Up Food Bucks, a program that gives incentives for people to buy food at farmers’ markets.

As for the efforts of Knox College to support the food movement, Knox has a community garden, a farm and the Knox Food Coalition as well as promoting institutional change to support more sustainable practices.

Academics fusing environmental studies and food include a half-credit course this fall taught by Professor of Environmental Studies Peter Schwartzman, with students tending to Knox’s farm. Independent studies are also an integral part of students getting involved with the food movement. Senior Katie Beadling’s senior research is on food deserts – areas where nutritious food is lacking – in Galesburg. As an environmental studies major, she will be researching food and their prices in places like Cornucopia and gas stations.

“The ultimate goal is to be able create a map of Galesburg showing like what food is available, if pedestrians have access to it or cars,” Beadling said.

Sheena Leano

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