On October 3, from 4:30 p.m.- 6:00 p.m., AppalFRESH (Appalachian Food Research for Equity, Sustainability and Health) Collaborative will be hosting Community FEaST (Food, Engagement, and Storytelling). The FEaST invites local members and the Appalachian State University community to gather around a 100-yard-continuous-table for a free meal. The meal is vegetarian-friendly and will include baked potatoes, salad and a plethora of toppings. AppalFRESH Collaborative is a campus group that is composed of students, faculty, and staff.
The group’s intention for this event is to encourage usage and increase awareness of sustainable food, to educate others through storytelling about sustainable food practices, to minimize waste and increase local food sourcing. The meal will be located on Sanford Mall. Participants are asked to bring their own eating ware, in effort of minimizing waste.
Student groups are welcome to participate in the event, as well as donate to the event. AppalFRESH says that potato topping donations are crucial in order for this event to take place. Participants do not need to be involved in sustainable development or dietetic programs to be involved in the Community FEaST.
“In addition to the focus on sustainable food, this event allows for the opportunity to educate zero waste efforts. We will be minimizing the waste associated with this event in an effort to be as close to zero waste as possible. We are asking everyone to bring their own, plates, bowls, utensils, and water bottles and cups. We will have extra china and silverware on hand, and we will provide cloth napkins for everyone’s use. We also encourage minimized packaging when purchasing local food items. Appalachian State has a commitment to zero waste, and anytime we can educate and lead by example, we do so. This is a wonderful opportunity,” says AppalFRESH member Jennifer Maxwell, who is with the Office of Sustainability at Appalachian State University.
Community FEaST is an informational opportunity for those who are interested in learning more about sustainable food. Members of AppalFRESH will gladly educate visitors of the importance of sustainable food.
“We need to ensure that local producers can earn fair wages, control their own practices, and serve their own and local needs over corporate demands. These principles undergird thriving communities,” says Jessica Martell of AppalFRESH, and Faculty in the Department of English.
Carla Ramsdell, faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and AppalFRESH member says, “Sustainability means the capacity to endure. A sustainable food system would provide for our generation’s needs without jeopardizing the needs or resources for future generations. This touches on many disciplines, including agriculture, transportation, storage, preparation and disposal. A sustainable food system has advantages beyond environmental health. It can also improve personal health and family and community connectedness.”
When discussing sustainable ways to endure, Ramsdell mentioned agroecology. Agroecology is an ecological approach to sustainable agriculture. This movement is important because it addresses sustainable food on a local and global level. “The goal of agroecology is to create a food system that allows communities to produce sufficient food while creating and sustaining strong social wellbeing.This requires we look at the strength of each community and try to find innovative solutions to growing our own food while adapting to climate change,” says Ramsdell.
With today’s focus on fast food, microwavable meals, and being instantly fed, agriculture requires unhealthy means in order to provide for the world. The unhealthy meals include high levels of processing, harmful additives, and chemicals.
“We hope that the discussions during the Community FEaST table will help to raise awareness about these sustainable food issues and work toward envisioning local solutions,” concludes Ramsdell.
AppalFRESH encourages all to support local farmers, which is a great way to eat sustainably. They believe that developing relations with local farmers is crucial in fostering an area that can function properly through sustainable eating. The cost of food may be expensive, however the cost that consumers pay for packaging and processing is drastically decreased, according to Ramsdell.
AppalFRESH urges consumers to know the environmental benefits of sustainable eating. Ramsdell stated, “Our food system contributes approximately 30% of human produced greenhouse gases. These gases trap the sun’s energy and are heating our globe, setting into motion potentially devastating consequences for our species. Much of these emissions from our food system can be reduced by personal choices that each of us make every day, including what types of food to purchase (consider replacing a beef meal or two per week with fish or chicken or even better…vegetables!), where to purchase this food and how it is stored and prepared. Choosing fresh ingredients that are purchased locally and prepared in our homes reduces these emissions and improves our health and family connectedness.”
AppalFRESH’s Comunity FEaST serves the purpose of inviting all to the table, educating others about the importance of supporting local farms, and invites all to feel like family around the table. Come connect with the community, have a nutritious meal and learn with AppalFRESH.
If you or your student group would like more information about the event, or would like to become involved in AppalFRESH please contact [email protected].