On Saturday February 13, Kalamazoo College students and faculty involved in food advocacy and sustainability, gathered in the Stone Room to begin K’s first Food Justice Panel.
The students and faculty present represented organizations ranging from the VINE program (Visualizing and Integrating Neighborhood Engagement), K’s Food Recovery Network, recycling and composting clubs, and even dining services. The gathering centered around a mutual respect for food and a passion for taking steps toward a healthier, more sustainable environment surrounding food at K.
One key player was Margot Couraud K’16, who is a sustainability intern at K. Leading the group discussion, she asked others to reflect on how they’ve seen food go to waste in their lives in and out of K. Stories were shared that attested to the severity of a lack of appreciation for food. Couraud recounted a story she attained from cafeteria staff, in which roughly 20 servings of fried rice had to be thrown away. A student had decided to use their hand to dig for pieces of chicken, causing the waste.
According to Kacey Cook of the Center for Civic Engagement, there is endowment money specifically for food sustainability, and the college wants to encourage students to get involved. The goal going into the panel was to connect students who are doing just that.
Attendees, coming from different initiatives, seemed surprised to find others with similar ideals surrounding food. “I’m excited for the possibility of building up together, and using pre-existing organizations,” said Kieran Williams K’16, who is a sustainability intern at K.
“Many hands make light work,” reminded Couraud. For those at the panel, the hope is that strength will be found in numbers going forward. Response was so positive that there is talk of holding the panel monthly.
Those interested in getting involved can contact Couraud at Margot.Couraud16@kzoo.edu.