At an unusual event, students at Claremont McKenna College gathered to meet for a “Mindfulness of Eating” experience on the Claremont, CA, campus.
Led by Bon Appétit Fellow Carrie Cullen in partnership with CMC’s Mindfulness Club, the event drew wider attendance thanks to interest from Scripps, Pomona, and Pitzer students, who also came to learn about connecting more deeply to their food.
Carrie began the session by inviting everyone to share experiences they felt that bring them closer to their food. Examples included cooking, apple picking, and gardening. The discussion then moved into Bon Appétit’s Farm to Fork program: everyone tried the Farm to Fork strawberries, persimmons, oranges, and apples that the Bon Appétit team had donated, while Carrie talked about the growers.
Next, for a sensory meditation, students explored the sensation of hunger and their feelings while holding a piece of food. They noticed the texture, weight, and shape of each food, then took a bite and paused to savor, remaining mindful of its taste and texture. Carrie reminded participants to consider the food’s journey: to offer gratitude for the sunshine, water, transportation, and farmworkers that brought it to this place.
“I feel like I’m tasting a strawberry for the first time,” one student commented, as others noted that they felt a closer connection to their food, and to the farmers and farmworkers who drive the food system, than they were used to feeling in a typical fast-paced college setting. They discussed how holding food in a place of awareness can help improve overall wellness and make one more reflective about how one consumes. They even agreed that reducing food waste and processed food intake would be easier when considering where food comes from.
Afterward, the students invited Carrie to join them for a meal on campus and continue the conversation. They were thoughtful about food systems issues and impressed by the work Bon Appétit is doing to address these topics on campus, in the community, and beyond.