Discourse / Editorials / Food Politics / February 23, 2011

The Knox Food Coalition: The key to sustained progress

At the beginning of winter term, two representatives from the Real Food Challenge (RFC) visited Knox. This was part of an effort to bring the national food reform movement to campus by both inspiring and enabling students to more effectively work towards change. Intrigued by their presentation, TKS’s “Thoughts from the Embers” concluded a review of their visit with these words: “We have seen these organizations [interested in food change] make progress on our campus, though maybe they, and many other groups at Knox, could make more progress if we utilized RFC’s strategies and split our efforts into both small changes now and long-term changes for the future.”

This concluding sentiment presents both a humbling truth and important challenge to Knox students (and to faculty, staff and administration). First, it acknowledges the earnest and idealistic aspirations that motivate advocates for change. Though we may hold a movie showing or lecture, for example, rarely do we see the change we desire—and often energetic proposals fail to come to fruition. This is where the second piece, the challenge, becomes significant. We cannot let the momentum and strategies that the RFC representatives brought to Knox go to waste. Rather, let’s seize the possibilities alluded to in TKS just four weeks ago before they melt away like the snow.

Towards this end, on Feb. 16 the Knox Community Garden Club hosted the Knox Sustainable Food Forum to carry forward the discussion that began with the RFC visit. We decided that Knox needs a way to connect all the disparate energies currently existing on campus surrounding the topic of food reform. No longer will it suffice to simply consider these issues in isolated settings—such as courses taught, student research projects, extracurricular activities, community involvement, etc. We need to establish a forum in which ideas will not be considered only once and then forgotten. We need a space in which committed, interested parties can gather not only to discuss long-term planning, but to focus as well on discerning and achieving the short-term and intermediary goals. These goals will further our journey towards a more just and sustainable food system on campus and in the community.

We need the Knox Food Coalition. The Knox Food Coalition calls on all members of the Knox community – students, staff, faculty, administration and friends – to come together and take Knox to the next level. The first meeting was Wednesday, Feb. 23, in Ferris Lounge at 4:30. Please come to future meetings to guarantee that the progress will continue.

Email hschnoes@knox.edu for more information on future meetings.

Helen Schnoes

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