OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi and Oxford community will observe Food Day – a nationwide movement toward healthy, affordable and sustainable food – Thursday (Oct. 16) with a festival and panel discussion.
The Food Day Farmers Market and Festival is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the Student Union. Following the festival, student leaders will gather to speak about “The State of Food at UM,” a panel discussion focused on student-led initiatives, at 5:30 p.m. in the Overby Center Auditorium. Both events are free and open to the public.
“Food Day is about opening a dialogue and raising awareness about food-related issues,” said Lindsey Abernathy, project coordinator in the Office of Sustainability. “But, it’s also about celebrating what we are doing right by highlighting local, real food and the people behind that food and those initiatives.”
The Food Day Festival and Farmers Market will focus on local food and will feature a mobile farm bus, farmers selling local produce, free food samples and educational displays by campus and community groups including the UM Food Bank, Real Food Rebels, Oxford Community Garden, Good Food for Oxford Schools and more.
At 11 a.m., Blue Cross Blue Shield Chef Labron Alexander will conduct a healthy cooking demonstration as part of the university wellness program, RebelWell. Alexander will demo a ginger-kale smoothie, oven-baked chicken and sweet potato hummus. Samples will be available.
“The State of Food at UM” panel will be moderated by Catarina Passidomo, assistant professor of Southern studies and anthropology, and will feature short talks from Chancellor Dan Jones; Jillian Cowart of Real Food Rebels; Christine Dickason of the UM Food Bank; Katelynn Dillard of the Office of Sustainability, Oxford City Market and Good Food for Oxford Schools; Kendall McDonald of the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network; and Dottie Reid of Oxford High School.
“I think it’s important to have a better understanding of where the food that we eat comes from and the people involved in that production,” Passidomo said. “Students in particular are at a good point in their lives to become engaged and to feel empowered to make a changes and I think that this is one area where they can set really specific goals. I hope the panel is something that students come to and feel inspired by and feel like they have new information about ways to get involved to make difference. “
The Food Day celebration at UM kicked off Oct. 8 with a screening of the documentary “Fed Up,” which chronicles the rise of the processed food industry in the United States and the health implications related to processed, sugary foods.
For more information about Food Day events, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Lindsey Abernathy at 662-915-3442.