University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Food, Food Systems, and the New Regionalism

Spring 2011
Instructors:  Pat Farrell (Geography), David Syring (Anthropology), and Randel Hanson (Geography) all from the University of Minnesota, Duluth

Participant Information

Faculty and graduate students who would like to participate in the seminar are invited to send an email to David Syring with a brief statement of interest and a paragraph about the research or reading that they have done which is relevant to the topic. Please send this statement as soon as possible. Faculty must send this statement no later than September 24, 2010. Graduate students must send their statements by October 29, 2010. Please note that the seminar may fill before these deadlines. Those selected to participate in the seminar will be expected to make a firm commitment to attend all seminar meetings. Selection of faculty participants will be made by early Fall semester, and of graduate-student participants by early November so that participants can arrange their spring schedules accordingly.

For further information please contact David Syring (218-726-8317).

Speaker Series

Unless otherwise noted, Speaker sessions begin promptly at 3:45pm and will take place in the UMD Library Rotunda (4th Floor).

Thursday, February 3:“The American Good Food Movement: Communities, Health and Social Change,” Maggi Adamek, Terra Soma Consulting

Thursday, February 17:  “Assessing the Western Lake Superior Region for Food Localization,” David Abazs, Senior Fellow, Endowed Chair in Agriculture, Univ. of MN, and Stacey Stark, UMD , Geography, Director of GIS Lab.

Friday, February 18: “Incubating Farm(er)s, Creating the Duluth Community Farm: the Intervale Model,” Andrea Tursini, Director of Consulting and Land Stewardship at Intervale Center, Burlington, VT, Location and time t.b.d.

Tuesday, March 1: “Community Based Education in Duluth around Food, Farming, and Gardening,” Angie Miller and Michael Latsch, Seeds of Success, in conversation with Cree Bradley, Farm Beginnings Program, Lake Superior Sustainable Faming Association, and Sarah Nelson, Duluth Community Garden Program.

Thursday, March 31: “Institutionalizing Good Food: the Case of the Univ. of MN Morris,” Sandra Olson Loy, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, UM Morris

Thursday, April 7: “Cornercopia Farm: Creating Student Centered College and University Gardens,” Courtney Tschida, Student Program Coordinator, MISA, and students, U of MN St. Paul

Friday, April 22: “Growing Power and Growing Food” WILL ALLEN, GROWING POWER, Milwaukee, WI, 7:00 pm: Public Address, UMD Kirby Ballroom

Thursday, April 28: “Food Systems in Healthcare,” Diane Imre, MBA, RD Director of Nutrition Services, Fletcher Allen Healthcare, VT

Thursday, May 5 : “Food Hubs and Healthy Foods: Building Change in Eau Claire, WI,” Representatives from Sacred Heart Hospital, Eau Claire, WI

Course Description:

This seminar explores how a new food regionalism is taking shape across the U.S., with the goal of producing locally more of the food that is consumed. While fast food is abundant, locally harvested whole foods for many are scarce. Most regions produce less than 1% of the food consumed locally, and the lack of regional distribution and processing centers make it difficult for locally harvested foods to reach schools, hospitals and grocery stores. We focus our seminar on the western Lake Superior bioregion. In this region we already find foodshed and regional dietary studies underway; farmer-centered training programs for new farmers; food reskilling initiatives; Food Summits; regional and municipal green jobs development initiatives around food production, processing and distribution; slow food, community, school, college and university gardens; and strong regional traditions that host food cooperatives, farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture businesses, and vibrant food, farm and gardening organizations. In the seminar we seek to explore two main questions: what role can UMD play in this new food regionalism; and what does this new food regionalism mean for food and food systems within UMD itself?

In exploring these questions, this seminar will collaborate around the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) at UMD, which includes interdisciplinary faculty; staff from the Offices of Sustainability, Civic Engagement, and Facilities Management; students; and community experts in food and agriculture. SAP seeks to facilitate research and teaching around health, food, farming, and gardening, utilizing a ten acre field site and a five acre heritage apple orchard which were part of the now defunct Northeast Experimental Station, as well as archival materials from the former Ag Station. SAP is facilitating the creation of a student-centered social enterprise around the production of vegetables, using models from other college farms around the country. Taken together, these activities understand the ‘foodskills’ as liberal arts skills in the sense that they are foundational for healthy individual lives, communities and our society as a whole.

We have begun developing are list of topics to explore. Here is a sampling:

What is the new food regionalism?
a. Brief history of Food in US & in western Lake Superior region
b. The UMD Farm & the “golden age” of Land Grant universities as relates to agriculture
c. Local food as social movement within sustainability
d. Local food as an issue of ecology and sustainability
e. Local food and the arts and humanities–food as key to local landscapes and cultures of place

2. What does the new food regionalism mean to and for UMD as an institution?
a.Teaching/curriculum around food skills: theoretical and applied–Foodskills as liberal arts skills
b. Food as multifaceted object for teaching, research and learning and as a key object in quality of life
c. Modeling food behavior: choice architectures within the UMD community. How do institutions and their systems portend default choices? How can they be tweaked?
d. Food systems at UMD and other universities: inching toward inclusion?

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