Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement Hosts 8th Annual Farms 2 K Social

By Olivia Nalugya, Staff Writer

A panel of alumni, community members, and a student leader shared their stories and philosophies about food systems (Photo by Olivia Nalugya)

Alumni, students, community members mingling (Photo by Olivia Nalugya)

Last Friday, one of the civic engagement student-led groups, Farms to Kalamazoo College, conveniently known as “Farms 2 K”, closed the school week with a mini feast by holding the 8th annual Farms 2 K social as part of the homecoming week celebrations.

Faculty, alumni, and current students filled the Dewing lounge where they were treated to a variety of organic foods, grown and produced by Michigan farmers.

“We bought most of the food from the farmers’ market,” said Na Young Kim ’17, a member of Farms 2 K.

After about thirty minutes of feasting and warm interactions, the assemblage was summoned to Dewing 103 by the Director of the Center for Civic Engagement, Professor Alison Geist, for a panel discussion that consisted of alumni, local farmers, a representative from Kalamazoo College Dining Services, a current student, and two faculty members.

Professor Geist quickly welcomed everyone to what she called “a celebration of Community, partnerships, local food, and social justice.”

Civic Engagement Scholars Nadia Torres ’16 and Maddie McWilliams ‘16 briefly told the audience about the goals and activities of Farms 2 K.

“At the core of our organization is a love of good food and a desire to facilitate learning on-and-off campus about fair, local, organic, sustainable food,” Torres said. “Farm’s to K seeks to restore a connection with food.”

The scholars also explained that Kalamazoo College Dining was chosen to provide dining services because they shared Kalamazoo College’s values regarding food.

“Creative Dining shares most of our food priorities and has started bringing more local foods to the cafeteria already,” McWilliams revealed.

Panel moderator, Professor of English and Farms 2 K faculty advisor Amelia Katanski led the discussion under the theme ‘Foodlosophy,’ or food philosophy, where each panelist shared their own foodlosophy.

Most panelists believed that food should be a basis for connecting people or building community.

Erica Barajas, Executive Director at Fair Food Matters, said, “My foodlosophy is very much based in relationships with other people and also relationships to food.”

Alumna Rachael Udow also advised everyone to know where his or her food comes from. “I try to make a conscious effort to know where my food comes from so that when I am making a choice on what to eat, it is a more informed decision,” she said.

K alumnus and audience member Kyle Dale ’93 acknowledged K’s efforts regarding food justice. “I think the College has done a great job, which makes me very proud to have attended Kalamazoo College,” he said.