Reading Together Survey

Reading Together

What if the entire community read the same book at the same time? This year, we feature TWO different titles written by TWO different authors. The theme, in a word, is FOOD.

Tracie McMillan

Reading Together 2014 feature author.

Tracie McMillan

The American Way of Eating

by Tracie McMillan

Market

Novella Carpenter

Reading Together 2014 feature author.

Novella Carpenter

Farm City

by Novella Carpenter

Farm

Blog

A Note from Tracie McMillan

We’ve just received a lovely note from Tracie McMillan about her recent visit to Kalamazoo. Although Reading Together 2014 continues until mid-April, we want to share her sentiments with the community now, since many are presumably still digesting (get it?) their reactions to her compelling book, The American Way of Eating.

In the meantime, we still have three weeks of programs and several related community events left before Novella Carpenter comes to town on April 15-16. Check out the Events links to the right and mark your calendars now. See you there!

 

tracie-mcmillan-note-2-2014-598.jpg

Dear Karen, Ann, & the rest of the Reading Together/KPL Crew,

Thank you again for organizing such a wonderful kick-off to your Reading Together series—and for including me in it. I had such wonderful conversation with everyone—from the lively Q&A at the high school to lunch at the Tap Room with your partners; from the high school student presentations to the live chat with the Kalamazoo Gazette. I truly was honored & delighted to be a part of it, and I’ll stop in & say hi on my next visit to Kzoo!

Tracie McMillan

Book

Tracie McMillan at KPL
tracie-mcmillan-at-kpl-563-160
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary/12970337384/in/set-72157641954054504
Karen S

Sustainability at Western Michigan University

As I read The American Way of Eating and Farm City, I became curious about the use of local foods and sustainability at Western Michigan University. This led me to investigate what was happening in the way of sustainable food practices at WMU. What follows is a brief summary of what I learned.

Dining Services

The Dining Services web pages are filled with information on local food sources and initiatives to reduce waste in the dining halls. These pages also take users to a map of regional farmer’s markets, lists of recyclables, and an introduction to the Food Diversion Initiative. The latter was started in 2011 as a sustainable way to reuse pre-consumer vegetable and fruit waste. Rather than removing the waste through garbage disposals or to landfills, the Food Diversion Initiative collects the food waste in large bins which are picked up and returned on a regular basis by Bearfoot Farms. The farm uses this waste to feed their pigs or make compost to enrich their soil.  At the Dining Services web site there is a video explaining and demonstrating these process for you. To date, WMU is the only one of the 15 Michigan state universities to be practicing sustainability at this level.

Office of Sustainability

Many readers may be familiar with the building at the southeast corner of Howard and W. KL Avenue that used to house the University Bookstore. It is now the WMU Office of Sustainability. I received a tour of the facility, learned about the history of the Office of Sustainability, and about several student projects it supports. In April 2010 the Student Garden Organization with the assistance of the University’s landscape services, community gardeners, and Tillers International began the Stadium Drive Community Garden project, a well thought-out and designed vegetable garden. This project was very visible to those driving or walking by the intersection of Howard Street and Stadium Drive. In 2011, those who shared in the work of the garden had grown about 800 pounds of food.

About this same time, The Office of Sustainability was working with student interns to plan, plant, and harvest the vegetable garden at The Gibbs House on Parkview Ave. The Gibbs House provided a program that allowed students from several disciplines to experiment with native and edible plants. Produce from this garden was sold at a farm stand manned by students, canned, distributed to local food banks, or donated to WMU Catering Services. The total yield of produce from this garden in 2011 and 2012 was over 2,500 pounds. In 2013 the garden at The Gibbs House was closed to make room for a new industrial venture on the Parkview campus, it was decided that more garden space could be created near the Stadium Drive Community Garden.

Gardens are not the only projects supported by the Office of Sustainability. Non-motorized transportation, recycling, aquaponics, bee keeping, and vermiculture are among the other interests of the Office of Sustainability. To learn more about this forward-thinking WMU office, view this slideshow annual report.   For those interested in working with the Office of Sustainability, part-time student jobs, assistantships, internships, and volunteer opportunities are available. The Office of Sustainability also sponsors events for the greater Kalamazoo community.

Dietetics and Food Service Administration Programs

Within the department of Family and Consumer Sciences are the Dietetics and Food Service Administration programs. Students electing to study Dietetics or Food Service Administration are involved with food processing at all levels of production.

Students graduating from the Dietetics program can apply for an internship with an emphasis in Sustainable Food Systems. Dietetic interns complete a series of six rotations selected from 25-30 sites. Interns in this program also spend four weeks in a school system working with the food service manager. Once a month the students meet on campus and take a field trip to a local sustainable food location in the Kalamazoo area such as the Kellogg Dairy Farm, Can-Do Kitchen, and the People’s Food Co-op.

The undergraduate major in Food Service Administration was recently revised and starting in Fall 2014 will include an emphasis on sustainable food systems. Students will take three courses that focus on food and sustainability. The first is an introductory course, followed by courses that consider local farm-to-table initiatives and global food systems and sustainability. The revisions to this major are intended to prepare food service professionals to be competent in current trends in the field, including a growing interest in sustainable food practices.

For those considering a career in sustainable food dietetics or food service administration, go to the department’s informative web page.

There is so much to learn about sustainable food practices. Western Michigan University is a great place to start! I am pleased to say that sustainable food practices are alive and well on the campus where I have spent the past 16 years of my career.

~ Miranda Howard, Reading Together Steering Committee
Head of Technical Services, University Libraries, WMU

Book

Western Michigan University Community Garden
wmu-student-garden-160
http://www.wmich.edu/sustainability/projects/community-garden

Inspired by Two Books

This spring we are inspired by two books that explore the journey of food from farm to table – whether that farm is a large operation fueled by the efforts of migrant workers or something that starts as simply as a personal devotion turning a nearby urban patch into a garden.

9780143117285-160.jpg

Novella Carpenter’s memoir Farm City shows how in small steps we can start something simple and transform it into something greater than ourselves. Her experience of growing beyond the garden to include raising animals on a small scale in an urban space is the inspiration behind upcoming programs such as Raising Animals for Food and The Farming Life. People’s Food Co-op will offer a Cooking Demonstration using fresh and local ingredients. Beyond Food for Thought will bring together a variety of people sharing how they turned small ideas gleaned here and there into life-changing actions; and we’ve also planned how-to’s on Container Gardening and a Farmers Market 101 where you can learn how to select produce and build relationships with local farmers.

9781439171950-160.jpg

As a journalist, Tracie McMillan goes undercover in The American Way of Eating to reveal the journey of food produced and distributed en masse until reaching its final destination on our plate. Her writing encouraged us to learn more about local stories and challenges of food and as a result, our community has come together in collaboration to present and offer to you The Farmworker Story as told by former farmworkers who advocate for safe and dignified working conditions. The Center for Health Equity will open dialog about Food Security or Food Justice: Does it Really Matter? We also have a Midday Film Series of three food documentaries; and we look forward to sharing the Midwestern food experience with authors Peggy Wolff and Bonnie Jo Campbell.

In addition to a grand variety of “side” program selections to choose from, our plate would not be complete without the main dishes: the Reading Together Committee is proud to present to you About the Author programs, where you will be able to meet and hear firsthand the experiences from each of our featured authors Novella and Tracie.

Our Kalamazoo Community will undoubtedly have plenty of food for thought throughout this season, and we look forward to reading, learning, and sharing food ideas (and food!) with you!

~ Jessica L. Enget, Reading Together Steering Committee
Associate Librarian, Portage District Library 

More blog posts



Reading Together on TwitterReading Together on FacebookKPL YouTube ChannelKPL Flickr Photostream

Food In the News »

RT In the News »

Apr 1, 2014
WSW: City Life on the FarmWSW: City Life on the Farm
Novella Carpenter
Mar 24, 2014
KalamazooKalamazoo
quietly emerging as a literary hot spot
Mar 5, 2014
Food Live ChatFood Live Chat
Tracie McMillan to answer questions
Mar 4, 2014
The American Way of EatingThe American Way of Eating
Tracie McMillan
Feb 27, 2014
Reading TogetherReading Together
book club focusing on two books
Feb 17, 2014
Reading TogetherReading Together
book club focusing on two books
Aug 22, 2013
Reading TogetherReading Together
about the food we eat
Aug 20, 2013
Library namesLibrary names
its 2014 Reading Together titles

More...