Few hungry students are concerned where their food is coming from — they are more interested in where it’s going.

Monday, members of political science lecturer Mary Summers’ “The Politics of Food and Agriculture” course, along with several Penn groups and Bon Appetit, are launching Food Week ­— a five-day initiative aimed at raising awareness about all aspects of the food production, preparation and consumption process.

Summers, a senior fellow of the Fox Leadership Program, explained that several years ago her students took interest in bringing more local food to campus as part of the service project required for her class.

Although Penn Dining was supportive of the group’s ideas, she said former food-service provider Aramark’s policies made it difficult to actually implement them.

Last spring, however, when Bon Appetit took over as Penn’s dining service, addressing food-related issues became much easier.

“They have a strong commitment to sustainable operations and labor interests,” Summers said of Bon Appetit.

Moreover, according to Business Services spokeswoman Barbara Lea-Kruger, Bon Appetit employs three fellows to study the company’s agricultural suppliers across the country.

With Bon Appetit so interested in issues of food production, Summers said, “This fall I told my students that collaborating with Bon Appetit might provide a good opportunity” for a service project.

Every day until Friday, members of each of the groups will spearhead events relating to different aspects of Food Week’s overall mission.

Monday’s agenda focuses on farmworkers’ rights. Bon Appetit East Coast Fellow Carolina Fojo will present a talk and a movie about the day-to-day lives of agricultural laborers, followed by an open discussion, Lea-Kruger wrote in an e-mail.

Tuesday’s theme is sustainability, and events will include a fully-sustainable dinner and conversation with various representatives of Philadelphia producers.

“We want students to get a better understanding of Philly’s special situation,” said Maura Goldstein, a College junior who helped coordinate the event. “It’s a big, urban city but we have access to lots of agricultural land.”

On Wednesday, Penn students, local high-school students, food activists and local farmers will discuss their personal relationships with food, according to Sandra Zhao, a College senior who founded the Penn Garden.

Thursday will feature a nutrition seminar, which, according to Summers, reflects the University’s growing interest in nutrition.

Friday will include a screening of Food, Inc..

Though Food Week boasts many options for students, College freshman Coby Lerner, who heard about the events in an e-mail from his residential advisor, is uncertain as to what the turnout will actually be.

“Issues relating to food are important to be aware of, but I think it’s hard for some students to make them a priority, unfortunately” he said.

Nonetheless, Goldstein stressed, the Food Week team hopes to simply get students thinking and talking about food issues.

“We want to start some sparks of interest within the community,” she said.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.