Food takes center stage

April 25, 2016

Students cut kale while prepareing an end-of-semester food project last fall at HCC.Students from different classes collaborate on an end-of-semester food project last fall.

Food, in all its contexts and connotations, is the focus of HCC's two-year "One Campus, One Theme" initiative.

This week, the food theme will be showcased at two of the semester's biggest food-related events.  

On Wednesday, April 27, HCC will present FOODx, a TEDx-inspired half-day conference organized by students around the subject of food.  

The following day, Thursday, April 28, about 70 students from classes in a wide range of academic disciplines will participate in a "One Campus, One Theme" Day of Service, volunteering with community agencies in Holyoke that provide food to low-income people.  

"We're hoping to motivate students to get involved in student activities both this semester and next semester cause we're going to keep this food theme going," said Laura Larson, professor of human services and coordinator of the "One Campus, One Theme: Food" initiative. "We hope to get students motivated and engaged in new ways."  

FOODx begins at 10 a.m. in the Leslie Phillips Theater. Live presentations will be mixed with selections of food-related video screenings from the TED and TEDx libraries.  

10:00 a.m.: Riccardo Racicot, HCC adjunct professor, "The Future of Nutrition Research."

10:30 a.m.: Screening: William Li, "Can We Eat to Starve Cancer?"

11:00 a.m.: Carin Zinter, beekeeper and HCC adjunct professor, "Got Honey? Why Bees Are Useful." 

11:45 a.m.: Screening: Michael Pollan, "Cooked."

12:30 p.m.: Laura Larson, professor of human services and coordinator of "One Campus, One Theme: Food," and Jack Mino, professor of psychology and coordinator of HCC Learning Communities, "The Food Theme: The Origins of HCC's Integrative Learning Project."  

"I'm going to talk about the connections that my classes have made to food, in terms of food distribution, hunger in our communities and food justice," said Larson, "and Jack is going to talk about it from a psychological standpoint and how he's used food in integrated assignments this semester. "  

On Thursday, about 70 students from seven different classes, including human services, Spanish and  nutrition will be volunteering throughout the day at Kate's Kitchen and Margaret's Pantry (part of Providence Ministries in Holyoke) and the Nuestras Raices farm on Jones Ferry Road.  

"Students are going to be doing everything from helping to clean up around the buildings of Providence Ministries to unloading trucks, to serving food at the soup kitchen and organizing food in the pantry, and doing spring cleanup at the Nuestras Raices farm and helping to cultivate the fields," Larson said. "There will be lots of different projects going on and we're letting the community agencies determine how best to utilize our volunteers."  

At the end of the day, beginning at 5:30 p.m., all the student volunteers will be celebrated at a special "Hunger and Food Justice" dinner prepared by students and staff in the Culinary Arts program. Students from Laura Christoph's Honors Nutrition classes will be putting together descriptions of each dish including nutritional values and costs.  

"So it is an educational event as well as a thank you to the students who volunteered during the day," Larson said.  

PHOTOS by CHRIS YURKO: Students from Culinary Arts and Sustainability collaborate on an end-of-semester food project last fall. 


Holyoke Community College
303 Homestead Ave. Holyoke, MA 01040