OXFORD. Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s annual Food Day celebration includes a variety of fun, interactive activities with the aim of highlighting the far-reaching impacts of Americans’ diet and the food industry, and why it matters.
Part of a nationwide movement toward healthy, affordable, sustainable foods, the UM event series kicks off Thursday (Oct. 8) with a campus farmers market and festival at the Student Union Plaza. The festival will feature vendors, music, a mobile farm bus, healthy tailgating samples and more. All events are free and open to the public.
“Food Day is a celebration of fresh, local unadulterated food and the heritage of agriculture that’s so ingrained in Mississippi,” said Alex Borst, a senior from Madison who is director of the Real Food Rebels student group. “The university hopes to bring awareness to food-related issues by empowering the university community to look more closely at problems present in existing food systems.”
Food-focused events will continue throughout October. On Oct. 20, a panel of experts will convene a discussion about “The Cost of Food.” The panel will touch on issues ranging from the costs of food production on the economy and the environment to the human costs, including the rights of migrant workers.
“Practically every facet of sustainability is encompassed by food, from human and environmental health to transportation, energy and waste production,” said Anne McCauley, assistant director of the UM Office of Sustainability. “You can touch on all of these issues by examining food. It’s relevant to everyone, and yet we’re so disconnected from what we eat.”
On Oct. 14, the UM compost team will hold a “sift-a-thon” offering an interactive way for volunteers to learn more about the composting process as they sift compost created from campus food waste. Sifting helps create a higher quality product for the UM Garden and other local gardens.
The Food Day celebration ends Oct. 21 with the second installment of Sustainable Oxford’s Autumn Speaker Series and Vegetarian Potluck Dinner at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center. Assistant City Planner Ben Requet will discuss “Oxford Vision 2037: Ensuring Sustainable Growth.” The potluck dinner will be a vegetarian chili cookoff.
Food Day events are sponsored by the Office of Sustainability, Real Food Rebels, Honors College Student Union and Sustainable Oxford. For more information or to volunteer for the Compost Sift-a-Thon, visit http://green.olemiss.edu.
2015 Food Day events include:
Oct. 8 – Food Day Festival & Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Student Union Plaza
Oct. 13 – “Food Chains” Film Screening, 7 p.m., Barnard Hall, Room 105
Oct. 14 – Compost Sift-A-Thon, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Student Union Plaza. Sign up to volunteer here.
Oct. 20 – “The Cost of Food” Interactive Panel Discussion, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Bryant Hall, Room 209
Oct. 21 – Sustainable Oxford’s Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off and Autumn Speaker Series, 6-8 p.m., Powerhouse Community Arts Center. Assistant City Planner Ben Requet discusses “Oxford Vision 2037: Ensuring Sustainable Growth.”