Award-Winning Poet, Essayist to Deliver Earth Day Keynote Address

Camille Dungy to close UM Green Week celebration April 22

Camille Dungy

OXFORD, Miss. – Camille Dungy, award-winning author and poet, is the University of Mississippi’s 2018 Earth Day keynote speaker. She will close the 10th annual UM Green Week celebration with her talk, “It’s All Environmental Writing” at 7 p.m. April 22, Earth Day, in the Overby Center Auditorium.

Dungy will read several of her own poems and excerpts from her essays and then contextualize her work within the framework of contemporary environmental writing. She also plans to elaborate on how the decisions we make when engaging in readings about the environment become statements about our relationships to it.

“As a woman of color, I find it is particularly important to share my voice on conversations related to environmental concerns because one of the most powerful things about writing is to be able to tell a truth that is yours, but that is likely also shared by other people,” Dungy said. “Good literature makes us carefully and imaginatively pay more attention to the world, meaning I must also pay attention to people and all the ways we interact in the environment around us.”

Dungy is a professor of environmental poetry and English at Colorado State University. She is a poet and essayist whose work focuses on the environment and is also an avid environmentalist.

She is best known for her work as editor of the anthology “Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry” (University of Georgia Press, 2009). “Black Nature” is the first collection of American nature writing that focuses on poetry written by African-Americans, and “it significantly challenges the propagated belief that black people have little or no creatively intellectual connection to the natural world,” Dungy said.

“The key to success is persistence,” she continued. “The struggle to care for the planet and our cohabitants demands persistence.”

Dungy is also the author of four collections of poetry, “Trophic Cascade,” “Smith Blue,” “Suck on the Marrow” and “What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison.” She debuted in prose in 2017 with the release of “Guidebook to Relative Strangers” (W.W. Norton, 2017), and has been featured in “Best American Poetry,” “The 100 Best African American Poems” and nearly 30 other anthologies.

She is the recipient of an American Book Award, two Northern California Book Awards, two NAACP Image Award nominations and a California Book Award silver medal.

“Camille is an electrifying speaker and it is a privilege to bring her to campus as this year’s Green Week keynote speaker,” said Ann Fisher-Wirth, professor of English and director of the UM environmental studies minor. “I know her talk will be challenging and exciting.”

Green Week is a week of events to celebrate the environment and the sustainability efforts in the area and strengthen the presence of sustainability at Ole Miss and in the Oxford community. The week starts Monday (April 16) and ends Sunday (April 22) with the keynote address from Dungy.

The Earth Day Keynote Address is sponsored by the UM environmental studies minor and the Office of Sustainability. It is free and open to the public. For more information about Green Week and this year’s events, go to http://greenweek.olemiss.edu/.

For more information about Dungy, visit her website.

University’s 10th Annual Green Week Begins April 17

Campus and community organizations raise awareness of resource stewardship

UM Landscape Services and students celebrate Arbor Day with a hands-on tree planting ceremony in the Grove during Green Week 2017. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will host its 10th Annual Green Week April 17-22 with a series of events designed for students, faculty and staff and community members.

The week is filled with programming to raise awareness about the importance of resource stewardship and includes events ranging from the annual Sustainability Fair to a transportation-related lunch-and-learn.

“Green Week is an opportunity for our university and the Oxford community to come together and celebrate our relationship with the natural environment,” said Kendall McDonald, project manager for the UM Office of Sustainability. “I think the most fundamental first step to fostering a healthy, sustainable world is to be curious and learn, and this year’s Green Week is full of opportunities to do so.”

The events kick off Tuesday (April 17) with a lunch-and-learn on “UM Master: Planning for a Pedestrian-Friendly Campus,” featuring Ian Banner, university architect and director of sustainability and facilities planning, and Mike Harris, the UM parking and transportation director. They will discuss the updated campus master plan as it relates to transportation and mobility.

Green Week culminates April 22, which is Earth Day, when award-winning poet and essayist Camille Dungy will deliver the 2018 Earth Day keynote address. The event, at 7 p.m. in the Overby Center Auditorium, is free and open to the public.

Dungy is editor of “Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry” (University of Georgia Press, 2009), the first anthology dedicated to nature writing by African-American poets. Other works by Dungy include “Guidebook to Relative Strangers” (W.W. Norton, 2017), a collection of personal essays that explores the complicated relationships between history, race and landscape.

Interactive events include the annual Sustainability Fair on Wednesday and the 2018 Arbor Day celebration on Thursday, during which attendees can participate in a hands-on tree planting in the Grove, hosted in collaboration with the Department of Landscape Services and the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center. Champion catalpa tree seedlings will be available while supplies last.

“Part of the mission of Green Week is to educate and empower, and we think that this year’s programming accomplishes that goal,” said Lindsey Abernathy, UM associate director of sustainability. “There are events for those interested in learning a little more about sustainability, as well as opportunities to explore topics more in depth, through events like the lunch-and-learn event and the keynote address.”

Community and campus organizations are hosting events in conjunction with Green Week, including the Oxford Community Market’s spring launch, a volunteer day at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs and Earth Day Yoga, hosted by Campus Recreation on the South Campus Rail Trail.

 “We work collaboratively with campus and community partners to plan Green Week, a nice reminder of the collaborative nature of sustainability and environmental work as a whole,” McDonald said. “We cannot address complex environmental problems without teamwork, and Green Week is a great way to bring everyone to the table.”

To encourage the community to experience sustainable activities firsthand, the Office of Sustainability is also hosting a Green Week social media challenge. Participants are asked to complete four tasks and share them on social media to be entered to win a $50 Patagonia gift card.

Green Week is hosted in collaboration with sponsor Jim Keras Subaru; the university’s environmental studies minor; departments of Facilities Planning, Parking and Transportation, Landscape Services and Campus Recreation; the Oxford Community Market; and the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center. For more information, visit https://greenweek.olemiss.edu/

The Green Week schedule of events features:

Tuesday (April 17)

  • “UM Master Plan: Planning for a Pedestrian Friendly Campus” lunch-and-learn: 12:15 p.m., Center for Manufacturing Excellence multipurpose room (third floor). Lunch and coffee provided.
  • Oxford Community Market Spring Kickoff: 3-6:30 p.m., Old Armory Pavilion.
  • First Feast Fundraiser Dinner for the Oxford Community Market: 6:30-9:30 p.m., Old Armory Pavilion (tickets required)

Wednesday (April 18)

  • Sustainability Fair: 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Galtney Lott Plaza

Thursday (April 19)

  • Arbor Day Celebration and Tree Planting: 1 p.m., the Grove

Saturday (April 21)

  • Give Back to SPAC: Volunteer Work Day: 9 a.m.-noon, Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, Holly Springs

Sunday (April 22)

  • Earth Day Yoga: 4 p.m., South UM Campus Rail Trail. Admission is $5 for students, $10 for community members.
  • “It’s all Environmental Writing,” 2018 Earth Day keynote address by Camille Dungy: 7 p.m., Overby Center Auditorium

Pop-Up Project Aims to Increase Safety on Gertrude Ford Boulevard

Temporary road configuration enhances bike lane; community feedback sought

The pop-up project along Gertrude Ford Boulevard is intended to increase awareness of the road’s bike lanes, slow down traffic and increase safety in the area. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Active Transportation Advisory Committee, Oxford Pathways Commission and the UM Green Fund Committee have temporarily reconfigured a portion of Gertrude Ford Boulevard to gather data on how to increase cyclist, pedestrian and motorist safety in the area.

The limited-time demonstration, or “pop-up” project, increases visibility of the bike lane and crosswalks using temporary road modifications that have been shown to be effective in calming traffic. Committee members will collect speed data and community feedback to inform future planning decisions.

“Projects like the Gertrude Ford Boulevard installation offer opportunities for valuable collaboration between decision-makers both with the city and university, while also elevating the input of community members who use this road every day,” said Kendall McDonald, project manager in the university’s Office of Sustainability and chair of the Active Transportation Advisory Committee. “Ultimately, the purpose of this project is to make this road safer and more accessible for all modes of transportation.”

The project is installed on a 2,063-foot portion of Gertrude Ford that spans from the crosswalk at Alumni Drive to Manning Way. This area was selected because recent speed data indicated that a majority of vehicles on this stretch were traveling above the speed limit of 30 miles per hour, and also because of heavy pedestrian traffic.

The Depot Trail ends in this area, and the Ford Center parking lot, which is zoned for commuter students, ensures heavy foot traffic.  

“Gertrude Ford is an area of town that has been on the Pathways Commission’s radar for a while since it gets a lot of traffic, both on foot and by car,” said Don Feitel, a member of the Pathways Commission. “It is the perfect spot to test different traffic designs to see which elements help to keep things flowing at safe speeds.

“We appreciate that our city leaders are willing to work with its citizens to test out different methods for making our roads safe for all users.”

Phase one of this project was the installation of reflective delineators along the bike lane. Phase two will include the placement of more crosswalk signage and informative signage explaining the project and providing an opportunity for users of the road to leave feedback.

“I think that temporary projects, such as this, help community leaders make informed decisions about improving our roadways for all users,” said Kate Kellum, chair of the Pathways Commission, member of the Active Transportation Advisory Committee and associate director for Institutional Planning and Effectiveness.

This pop-up project is the second of its kind in Oxford. In 2016, the Active Transportation Advisory Committee and Pathways Commission reconfigured a portion of University Avenue to demonstrate a street designed for all users. Components of the 2016 project are incorporated into the street design on University Avenue.

“Citizen-led initiatives are happening all over the country with great success,” Feitel said. “Using temporary materials means that we can easily test various treatments and see which works best before anything is permanently installed. It brings a flexibility to the process that the city might not otherwise have.”

The Gertrude Ford project is funded by the UM Green Fund, a fund available to support sustainability-related project proposed by Ole Miss students, faculty and staff.

To learn more about the project or to leave feedback, visit http://sustain.olemiss.edu.

UM Food Day Events Celebrate Healthy, Local Food

Observance includes on-campus farmers market and compost 'sift-a-thon'

The annual UM Food Day Festival and Farmers Market, set for 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 5) on Galtney-Lott Plaza, will feature farmers and local food producers. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will observe Food Day throughout October with a series of events designed to inspire thought about the importance of sustainable food systems.

The university’s events take place as part of the national Food Day celebration. Food Day festivities begin on campus Tuesday (Oct. 3), when Lenoir Dining – the university’s student-run restaurant – will feature a menu highlighting local food items including catfish from Mississippi and local produce. 

“Every time we purchase or eat a food item, we are playing a role in a system that encompasses wellness, environmental and social issues,” said Lindsey Abernathy, associate director of the UM Office of Sustainability. “Food Day is an opportunity to open a dialogue about the impact of our food choices and also raise awareness of the great food-related resources we have here in Oxford, like farmers markets, community gardens and other programs.”

The UM Office of Sustainability will host its annual Food Day Festival and Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 5) on Galtney-Lott Plaza. The event will feature farmers and local food producers, along with informational tables for food-focused campus and community organizations such as the UM Garden Club, Oxford Community Garden, UM Food Bank and Oxford Community Market.

“By discussing sustainability through the lens of food, we have a great opportunity to engage everyone in our campus community because we all have some relationship with food,” says Kendall McDonald, sustainability fellow of the UM Office of Sustainability. “Food Day is a fun way to examine and learn about those relationships, and find opportunities to strengthen our ties with the community and our environment.”

Additional Food Day events on campus include an Oct. 13 compost “sift-a-thon,” which offers volunteers a chance to earn service hours while getting a hands-on lesson on the importance and process of composting, at the Maynard W. Quimby Medicinal Plant Garden, and “Mostly Meatless Monday,” which takes place Oct. 23 at Rebel Market during lunchtime. Rebel Market will offer a variety of vegetarian and vegan lunch options, as well as an information table highlighting the environmental benefits of incorporating more plant-based meals into one’s diet.

Food Day activities are also taking place in the Oxford community. Oxford’s newest local food market, Chicory Market, will celebrate its grand opening from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 8) with music, barbecue and kids’ activities.

Food Day programming comes to a close Oct. 24 at Oxford Elementary School. Volunteers are needed to help Oxford Elementary students celebrate Food Day at various times by assisting with activities in classes such as art, music and physical education.

For more information or to volunteer for the compost sift-a-thon or Food Day at Oxford Elementary, visit http://sustain.olemiss.edu.

Challenge Invites LOU Community to Explore Resources for Green Week

UM, Oxford to host annual sustainability observance April 17-22

A pair of Ole Miss students help Nathan Lazinsky (left) spread pine straw around an oak tree. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi and Oxford community will celebrate Green Week April 17-22.

The annual series of events focuses on bringing awareness to sustainability topics, resources in the area and the importance of living a resource-conscious lifestyle.

“We all want to make the world a better place, but knowing how to do it specifically can be a challenge,” said Anne McCauley, assistant director of the UM Office of Sustainability, which organizes Green Week.

“Green Week events help bring the field of sustainability to life in tangible, meaningful terms. We intentionally design our programming to represent many dimensions of sustainability to connect with people, no matter what their current knowledge is about the field.”

This year’s Green Week will kick off with guided tours along a portion of the Ole Miss Tree Trail and culminate on Earth Day with a free outdoor yoga session and satellite March for Science occurring on campus as part of the national event.

David George Haskell, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author and professor of biology at the University of the South, will deliver the keynote address, “The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors,” at 7 p.m. April 20 in the Overby Center Auditorium.

Haskell is author of a new book of the same name as well as the 2013 Pulitzer Prize finalist “The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature” (Viking, 2012), which explores the diversity in 1 square meter of the forest floor in Shakerag Hollow, atop the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee over a calendar year.

This year, the Office of Sustainability is hosting an interactive Green Week Challenge to encourage participants to learn more about sustainability in the Oxford area.

Participants who complete the challenge, which includes activities such as riding an OUT bus, visiting a farmers market or checking out the Ole Miss Bike Shop, receive a free Green Week T-shirt – manufactured from recycled plastic bottles – and an entry to win a grand prize Yeti cooler. The challenge is open to all, including students, faculty, staff and community members. 

The Office of Sustainability also is hosting a Green Week Challenge for children. 

“The challenge is really meant to highlight the great sustainability resources and organizations in our area,” said Lindsey Abernathy, project manager for the Office of Sustainability. “Our intention is that participants try something new, whether that be riding the OUT bus for the first time or completing a carbon footprint quiz to learn how they can minimize impact in other areas.”

The full Green Week 2017 schedule includes:

Monday, April 17
Tree Trail Walk – 10 a.m., meet at Quad fountain. Hosted by UM Department of Landscape Services and Office of Sustainability

Tuesday, April 18
Tree Trail Walk – 1 p.m., meet at Quad fountain. Hosted by Department of Landscape Services and Office of Sustainability

Oxford Community Market and Friends of the Market Social Hour – 3-6:30 p.m., Community Pavilion

Wednesday, April 19
Arbor Day Tree Planting – Noon, Grove. Hosted by Department of Landscape Services and Office of Sustainability

Garden to Pantry Dinner and Cooking Demo – 5 p.m., UM Garden (behind Residential College South). Hosted by UM Garden Club and Ole Miss Food Bank

Green Drinks – 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., the Growler. Hosted by Sustainable Oxford

Thursday, April 20
“UM Master Plan for the Oxford Campus: A Sustainable Vision of Campus Development” Lunch and Learn – 12:15 p.m., Lamar Hall, Room 323. Hosted by Department of Facilities Planning and Office of Sustainability

Earth Day Keynote: “The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors” by David George Haskell – 7 p.m., Overby Auditorium. Hosted by the UM environmental studies minor program and Office of Sustainability

Friday, April 21
Woodlawn-Davis Workday – 8-11 a.m., Woodlawn-Davis Nature Center. Hosted by Woodlawn-Davis Nature Center

Small Hall Music Series at Woodlawn-Davis – 6 p.m., Woodlawn-Davis Nature Center. Hosted by Woodlawn-Davis Nature Center

Saturday, April 22
March for Science – 10:30 a.m., Meet in the Circle. Hosted by Department of Physics and Astronomy

Earth Day at Strawberry Plains – 10 a.m.-noon, Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, Holly Springs. Hosted by Strawberry Plains Audubon Center

Earth Day Yoga – 4 p.m., South Campus Rail Trail. Hosted by Ole Miss Outdoors

To learn more about Green Week and the Green Week Challenge, visit http://greenweek.olemiss.edu/.

Biologist David George Haskell to Deliver UM Earth Day Keynote

Pulitzer nominee to talk on 'The Songs of Trees' April 20 on campus

David George Haskell

OXFORD, Miss. – David George Haskell, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of “The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature,” will bring his attention to detail and unique blending of science and literature to the University of Mississippi for its Earth Day keynote address.

Haskell, who is also a renowned biologist, will discuss “The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors” at 7 p.m. April 20 in the Overby Center Auditorium. Part of the university’s Green Week programming, the lecture is free and open to the public.

Haskell’s keynote address draws heavily from research conducted for his new book, also titled “The Songs of the Trees” (Viking), which was published April 4.

“I plan to give specific examples about what I learned about ecology, biological networks and ethics from close observation of 1 square meter of forest and of a dozen trees around the world,” said Haskell, a professor of biology and environmental science at the University of the South. “I’ll use these examples to make the case that repeated bodily and mental engagement with particular places in the world is an essential part of understanding both ourselves and the rest of the community of life.”

Haskell said he hopes that his talk will be of interest to those of scientific, environmental and literary backgrounds, as his work attempts to blend disciplines.

Ann Fisher-Wirth, who directs the Ole Miss environmental studies minor, became acquainted with Haskell through his debut book, “The Forest Unseen” (Viking, 2012), which she has taught in both her Environmental Studies 101 and nature writing courses. The book chronicles Haskell’s commitment to observe a 1-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest for a year, during which he painstakingly observes each component of this small ecosystem down to the microscopic level.

“He is an expert biologist, beloved professor and wonderful writer, and I am delighted that he will be this year’s Earth Day speaker at the University of Mississippi,” Fisher-Wirth said. “His inquisitiveness and patience inspire us to encounter the world with a raised environmental awareness.”

Haskell said he used that same attention to detail in his newest book.

“In ‘The Songs of Trees,’ I bring the same commitment to repeated, close attention to other species that guided ‘The Forest Unseen,'” he said. “Instead of remaining with one area, though, I visit a dozen trees in different parts of the world.

“Each tree is a focus for my observations, research and conversations. By spending time with trees in radically different places – cities, forests of different kinds, even bonsai museums – I experienced that great diversity of trees’ connections to other species.”

Haskell earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oxford and a doctorate from Cornell University. He is a 2014-15 fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, an elective member of the American Ornithologists’ Union and a research associate at Bowdoin College.

The National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the World Wildlife Fund, among others, have sponsored his research on animal ecology, evolution and conservation. He also serves on the boards and advisory committees of local and national land conservation groups.

His teaching has been profiled in USA Today and The Tennessean, among others, and the Carnegie and CASE Foundations named him Professor of the Year for Tennessee in 2009.

The annual Earth Day keynote address is sponsored by the environmental studies minor program and the UM Office of Sustainability. To learn more about the event and see the full schedule of Green Week events, visit http://greenweek.olemiss.edu/.

University Offsets Electricity Use with Renewable Energy Certificates

Purchase allows Ole Miss to support sustainable resources and lower carbon footprint

The University of Mississippi is committed to the use of renewable energy sources, including the installation of more than 400 solar panels on the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communicationsd

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has offset a portion of the electricity it uses through the purchase of renewable energy certificates.

The purchase, which came about as a recommendation of the UM Energy Committee, allows the university to lower its carbon footprint, support the development of renewable energy technologies and practice resource stewardship, a tenet of the UM Creed.

“RECs are a simple and efficient way to immediately integrate renewables into an energy portfolio,” said Larry Sparks, vice chancellor for administration and finance. “This is an important next step for UM that complements our long history of increasing energy efficiencies, lowering energy utilization rates and investing in renewable energy installations on campus.”

One renewable energy certificate, or REC, represents the environmental benefits associated with one megawatt-hour of energy generated from renewable energy resources.

The university purchased 3,835 RECs for $1,800, which is 0.02 percent of the overall electricity bill. This offset 3 percent of institution-wide electricity use from fiscal year 2016.

“(This) is a way to demonstrate that the University of Mississippi supports the production of electricity from clean, renewable resources,” said Ian Banner, chair of the Energy Committee, director of facilities planning and the UM Office of Sustainability, and university architect.

“As well as making a contribution to a cleaner world, we feel this is an educational opportunity to show that there are alternative ways of producing power.”

It is estimated that the university’s RECs have an environmental impact similar to growing 69,848 trees per year for 10 years or not using 6,240 barrels of oil, according to 3Degrees Inc., the company through which Ole Miss purchased the certificates.

When electricity is produced from a renewable generator, such as a wind turbine, two products are created: the energy, which is delivered to the grid and mixes with other forms of energy, and the REC. Because renewable energy delivered to the grid cannot be distinguished from electrons of nonrenewable resources, the REC is a way to track the renewable electricity – it acts like a receipt for owning the environmental benefits associated with the generation of renewable energy.

“It is not practical to set up a wind or solar farm, just as we wouldn’t build a traditional power station to provide the university’s electricity,” Banner said. “Rather, we purchase electricity from the producer, usually the local power supplier.

“By purchasing RECs, we are able to certify and verify that a percentage of our electricity is tracked back to its source. In our case, the source is a provider that produces electricity using wind turbines that do not create greenhouse gas emissions such as CO2.”

RECs allow individuals and businesses to support renewable energy development and help to make renewable energy projects financially viable while lowering carbon footprints.

Besides the REC purchase, the Ole Miss campus is home to renewable energy installations that include more than 400 solar panels on the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence and geothermal heating and cooling at Insight Park.

UM Food Day Celebration Features Day of Service, Pop-Up Market, More

Events scheduled throughout October to educate and get community involved

fooddaygrpahic1

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will observe Food Day, a nationwide celebration that focuses on the importance of improving American diets and food policies, throughout October.

Food Day events commence with a composting workshop hosted by Sustainable Oxford at 6 p.m. Monday (Oct. 3) at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center.

Campus events kick off on Thursday (Oct. 6) with the Office of Sustainability’s sixth annual Food Day Festival on the Union Plaza, highlighting food-related resources in Oxford. Set for noon-3:30 p.m., the festival features a farmers market, food samples, educational displays and other activities.

“Through Food Day, the Office of Sustainability aims to engage more people in a topic that involves us all: how we are fed,” said Kendall McDonald, sustainability fellow in the Office of Sustainability. “By empowering university members to be local food heroes through education and service learning, we believe a just, inclusive and resilient food system is possible.”

This year, Food Day will incorporate a service component through the Food Day of Service, a half-day event on Oct. 22. During Food Day of Service, volunteers will complete projects affiliated with local school and community gardens and the UM Compost Program.

Food Day of Service volunteer sites include gardens at the Boys and Girls Club, Oxford School District and Lafayette County Schools, plus the Oxford Community Garden and the UM Compost Program site. Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. in the Ole Miss Student Union ballroom for a kickoff ceremony before traveling to the sites. Register to join Food Day of Service here.

On Oct. 25, the Office of Sustainability will host a screening of the film “Food Chains,” followed by a guided discussion led by Catarina Passidomo, UM assistant professor of Southern studies and anthropology. The screening is set for 7 p.m. at Shelter on Van Buren.

The film examines the human cost of America’s food system through the lens of tomato pickers in southern Florida, who work from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., earning just $40 a day – a price dictated by large supermarkets.

“Many of us don’t have a good understanding of labor abuses in the food system or an appreciation for the people whose labor remains relatively invisible,” Passidomo said. “I hope that people will come away from the film with a better and deeper understanding of the politics and processes that underlie our contemporary food system.”

On Oct. 26, a pop-up farmers market in the parking lot of the Oxford Intermediate School will wrap up Food Day activities. The market runs from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

This year’s Food Day celebration also incorporates educational events for community children, including an activity Oct. 15 at the UM Museum’s Family Activity Day and a scavenger hunt activity for children affiliated with the Boys and Girls Club that will take place during the pop-up farmers market.

“Studies show that introducing children to the process of healthy foods will increase their consumption of these foods,” said Denae Bradley, AmeriCorps VISTA in the Office of Sustainability. “During the pop-up market, children at the Boys and Girls Club will participate in a scavenger hunt, where they will engage with local vendors by asking them questions about their product, as well as try new foods that they may have never tasted before.”

The Food Day activities are organized by the UM Office of Sustainability in partnership with Sustainable Oxford. To learn more about sustainability at UM, visit http://green.olemiss.edu/.

Ole Miss Market Days Start This Week

Green Fund project brings fresh produce, local foods to campus

Leonard Brown, owner of Brown's Farm helps Ole Miss student Katie Flannigan select a cactus plant at the Food Day Festival sponsored by the Office of sustainability. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Leonard Brown, owner of Brown’s Farm, helps Ole Miss student Katie Flannigan select a cactus plant at the Food Day festival sponsored by the Office of Sustainability. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Fresh produce and other local goods will be available for purchase during Ole Miss Market Days, a series of events scheduled throughout the fall semester at the University of Mississippi.

The markets, set for Aug. 25, Sept. 8 and Oct. 6, will take place from noon to 3:30 p.m. on the Student Union plaza.

Funded by the UM Green Fund, the project was proposed by senior civil engineering student Sarah O’Brien.

“Farmers’ markets are such a great way for people to buy locally grown food,” O’Brien said. “There are so many benefits from eating local. It’s a chance for the Ole Miss community to get a unique personal interaction with the farmers that grow their food.”

Ole Miss Market Days will feature local farmers selling a variety of produce, as well as vendors offering local honey, fresh bread and Gulf seafood. The October market coincides with the university’s annual Food Day festival.

The UM Green Fund committee selected the project because of its positive potential contribution to campus sustainability.

“As a member of the Green Fund committee, I’ve been asked several times about a campus farmers’ market by my peers who have trouble making it to the community markets,” said Grace Sullivan, a senior social work major from Madison who served on the Green Fund last year as the Associated Student Body sustainability representative.

“Since we have started following up with this proposal, it has been exciting to answer my peers with an enthusiastic, ‘Yes, it’s in the works!'”

In O’Brien’s Green Fund proposal, she noted an environmental, health and economic case for supporting farmers’ markets. The distribution and transportation of conventionally grown food is responsible for five to 17 times more carbon dioxide emissions than local or regionally produced food, according to the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems.

Farmers’ markets have been proven to contribute positively to the economy, O’Brien said, citing a 2009 survey conducted by the Mississippi State University Department of Agricultural Economics and the National Agricultural Marketing Association. The national survey indicated that communities that hosted farmers’ markets saw a 70 percent increase in sales, a 66 percent increase in employment and a 29 percent increase in wages.

Ole Miss Market Days are open to all members of the Oxford and UM community. For more information, visit http://green.olemiss.edu/olemissmarketdays/.

UM Observes Bike Month Throughout May

Events promote cycling through group rides, maintenance workshops and National Bike Challenge

May is National Bike Month. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

May is National Bike Month. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has joined communities across the nation to celebrate National Bike Month and encourage people to get out and pedal throughout the month of May.

The month’s activities include group bike rides for all-level cyclists as well as educational workshops focused on bicycle maintenance and safety. As part of Bike Month, the university will also be competing in the National Bike Challenge, which encourages individuals to set cycling goals, log their miles biked and compete for new bicycles and other prizes.

“An event like Bike Month is so important for communities like ours where the biking community is growing,” said Grace Sullivan, a junior social work major from Madison, and a member of the Active Transportation Advisory Committee. “It will not only be educational for nonbikers who are interested in getting into it, but it will help bring together cyclists in the community who might need a network to share tips, go on rides and the like.”

National Bike Month began in 1956, when the League of American Bicyclists created the event to promote cycling as a healthy and sustainable alternative for travel. The events planned for this month’s celebration will focus on bicycle education and promotion. The events are for individuals of all skill levels, from newbies to experts.

“May is the perfect time to try out riding around town by bike because the weather is nice and the car traffic eases,” said Anne McCauley, assistant director in the UM Office of Sustainability. “One purpose of Bike Month is to encourage community members to try it out.

“If you have ever had a complaint about driving, parking or traffic, then you must give riding a bike a chance. It’s fun, it’s inexpensive and good for you.”

The Ole Miss Bike Shop will host Maintenance Mondays from 4 to 5 p.m. each Monday in May at the bike shop. During the sessions, a professional bicycle mechanic will teach bike repair and maintenance. Participants may bring their bicycles to the workshops.

Additionally, Pedal and Picnic group rides will take place on Tuesday (May 17). Groups will meet in front of the Lyceum at noon and ride to a free picnic at Lamar Park.

Similarly, May 24 and 31 will be Bike to Lunch days. Groups will meet at noon in front of the Lyceum to travel to a lunch destination. Discounts at select restaurants may be offered to cyclists.

Students, faculty and staff are also encouraged to register for the National Bike Challenge to log their rides throughout May. Participants can sign up online to record biked miles, contribute to the university’s total miles and compete for individual prizes.

Participants must add “University of Mississippi” to their “groups” tab on the website after registering to ensure that rides will be counted.

The Bike Month celebration is part of an ongoing effort to foster a bicycle-friendly environment on campus and in Oxford. Last November, UM received a nod from the League of American Bicyclists for its efforts, when campus was designated as a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly University.

The month’s activities are supported by several groups across campus, including the Office of Sustainability, the Ole Miss Bike Shop, Active Transportation Advisory Committee and the Ole Miss Cycling Club.

To keep up with the Bike Month schedule and event updates, follow the Ole Miss Green Initiative and the Ole Miss Cycling Club on Facebook. To learn more, visit http://green.olemiss.edu/.