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UNC focuses on 'food for all' for third year of campus-wide theme

Laura Mindlin, Edible Campus Initiative Coordinator.
Laura Mindlin, Edible Campus Initiative Coordinator.

The theme is run by a steering committee led by American studies professor Marcie Cohen Ferris and nutrition professor Alice Ammerman.

Ferris said the steering committee has big plans in the works for the third year of the “Food for All” theme. One of these includes bringing together courses from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Gillings School of Global Public Health to establish a food studies major.

“Having that academic pathway for students to study food across the University is really important,” she said.

Department of Anthropology Chairperson Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld said one of the most important roles of the steering committee is providing micro grants to organizations who want to make a difference in the community

“People bring all these projects and ideas looking for financial support, but also through us they get connected to other kinds of projects or they help get the word out for what they’re doing,” he said.

One of the organizations that has received support from the steering committee is Edible Campus Initiative. The committee was a significant financial contributor to Edible Campus’ new 13,000 square foot production garden behind Davis Library that is set to open in about a month.

Edible Campus coordinator Laura Mindlin said the new garden could be used by UNC students for many different purposes.

“It will be totally a shared space for the UNC community to continue their engagement in food related initiatives, but also a space for community gatherings, and leadership developments, social justice workshops and any other activity that could benefit from a garden space,” she said.

Besides funding this large-scale project, the steering committee previously gave Edible Campus a grant to establish a paid student internship program.

“With our grant now we’ve got a student who is going to be the garden manager of the new garden, and we’ve got a student who’s helping to coordinate all the different satellite beds across campus too,” Mindlin said.

Ferris said she is enthusiastic about the upcoming projects for the theme.

“We’re really grateful to the University for funding this theme, the “Food for All” theme and for shining a light on what could be a more critical issue, how we feed ourselves and the commitment we have to making sure that all people in the community are fed and healthy,” she said.

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