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September 13th, 2012
Written by Claire Cummings on September 13, 2012in Education, Events, Featured - 0 Comments
Editor’s Note: The third year of our much-loved first West Coast Fellow, Vera Chang, has concluded and she has moved on to bigger and better things. Please join us in welcoming Claire Cummings, who explains below how she came to join us.
In Portland, OR, each year, Lewis & Clark College hosts a four-day-collegiate conference called the Environmental Studies Symposium. The symposium is designed and coordinated by students, and my junior year I was selected as one of the lead co-chairs.
The theme for 2010 was “Following the Food Chain,” and I have to admit I wasn’t initially thrilled. The topic seemed like “low-hanging fruit” compared with issues of climate change, pollution, and alternative energies. However, as I began reading books such as Julie Guthman’s Agrarian Dreams and speaking to community experts such as Camas Davis from the Portland Meat Collective, I began to understand the deep connection between food and the environmental problems I was concerned about.
In hopes of making the “wild web” of food issues accessible to a wider audience, my team collaborated with the staff of Bon Appétit Management Company, our campus food service provider, to create an interactive dining experience for our attendees. We designed three different meals that represented significant decisions consumers make when choosing what to eat. Ingredients ranged from locally and humanely produced beef to fruits shipped from far away countries and seafood raised in environmentally devastating ways. Each ingredient told a story of life before the plate and forced attendees to recognize their participation in America’s broken food system. Continue…