For just one evening, UNC-Chapel Hill had one more class from which to choose when Fair, Local, and Organic (FLO) Food hosted Food 101 in the Great Hall of the Student Union on September 3rd. The event began with a selection of delicious organic food – such as fruit smoothies and soy nuggets – and culminated with five speakers, each of whom spoke for five to ten minutes about a food-related issue of their choice.
Every speaker had different approaches and conveyed different messages. Alice Ammerman, a professor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC, went through a list of majors – from art history to clinical laboratory science – to emphasize the importance of food in a wide variety of topics. Darin Knapp, a professor at the UNC School of Medicine, spoke about Ramble Rill Farm and its role in growing and selling organic fruits and vegetables. Cameron Coughlin, a junior at UNC, spoke about TABLE and its projects related to feeding hungry students in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area. Jennifer Curtis talked about Firsthand Foods and the process it undertakes to sell meat from pasture-raised cows, pigs, and chickens. Even Scott Weir, a member of Carolina Dining Services (CDS), gave a presentation about food waste with a compost bin sitting right next to him as a prop. To sophomore Kaia Findlay, the inclusion of Weir was important.
“I appreciated hearing from CDS because eating in the dining hall can be mysterious business,” Findlay said. “I was encouraged by the presentation and by the fact that we have dining staff with whom we can communicate.”
Sophomore Kalli Bunch liked Weir’s presentation as well. However, she had a personal connection to Coughlin’s presentation.
“Coughlin was my favorite because I’m a Bonner Leader and TABLE is one of our community partners,” Bunch said. “As a result, I’m always happy to hear about the work they’re doing in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.”
For FLO Foods, an organization that is interested in expanding its outreach and educating students about the food system, this event was an astounding success. Findlay, who had only attended one other FLO event, enjoyed this one.
“The event was well-executed, informative, and fun,” Findlay said. “I have discovered my passion this year for agriculture and food studies and FLO events are an excellent way to get educated about those things. Everybody eats even if they don’t like to do it. For that reason, it is important for students to learn about the health of their bodies and how what they put into their bodies impacts the health of their community on a local and global scale.”