The late afternoon spring sun shined through the leaves onto Kalamazoo College’s upped quad. A buffet of asparagus themed items, deviled eggs and rhubarb crisp was spread across two clothed tables. A long line of students, eager to devour the free fresh food snaked around the table.
Civic Engagement Scholar for Just Food Collective (JFC), Mimi Strauss K’13 helped to organize and host the event. She said the purpose of the event was to highlight Michigan’s spring vegetables, specifically asparagus. The asparagus was gathered from a 30-mile radius of Kalamazoo and was showcased baked, wrapped in bacon, in a quiche dish, and atop the deviled eggs.
“We believe in the importance of eating seasonally as a way to decrease the environmental impact of our food industry and also as a means through which we can support our local farmers,” said Strauss. “Asparagus is one of the first vegetables available in the spring, and Michigan is especially known for this wonderful vegetable, so we figured it deserved a spotlight.”
Along with the buffet, JFC invited student musicians to perform during the event. Austin Scheer K’14, Colin Grogan K’14, Colin Waller K’15, and Hank Belcher K’15 all performed a variety of music while people enjoyed the food.
“We wanted to create a space in which local food and good music could be celebrated and enjoyed,” said Strauss. “People stayed to listen to music even after the food was entirely gone, which I think is a sign that we were successful in creating a good environment that people wanted to be in.”
With this being JFC’s first year on campus, the event was an important way to get the organization’s name out there. The event was also beneficial in illustrating the goals of the organization.
“It is especially important for us right now to let the student body know that we are here and we are ready to make significant changes on this campus,” said Strauss. “Events such as this are also vital in making sure that everyone who is interested in these issues knows about our organization and knows that they can also participate in food justice work.”
Some future events that JFC is hosting throughout the remainder of the quarter are planting in the raised beds behind Hoben, a collaborative reflection with Coalition for Reproductive Justice, completing a budget proposal for a Hoop-House, and weekly transportation to the Saturday farmers markets.