“It’s about faith, food and fun.”
While many college students spend their weekends cramming for upcoming exams, logging hours for an internship or simply catching up on much-needed sleep, students at Calvin College spent a weekend this autumn doing something very different. They hosted a festival of sorts – full of workshops, video interviews and even a panel discussion. But this wasn’t your typical festival. This was the 5th Annual Mad Farmer Food Festival.
Allow me to explain why this festival was a little different from your typical festival or weekend conference.
The workshops taught students how to make delicious hummus, pesto and applesauce and how to preserve their applesauce using the old skill of canning.
The video interview was with local food/restaurant hero, Marie Catrib, whose Grand Rapids restaurant is as much a local landmark as it is a restaurant.
And if you are not already intrigued, the panel discussion was on the topic of dumpster diving, and yes, the panelists were indeed seasoned dumpster divers themselves.
“This event was to educate about issues surrounding food, said Megan Dickens, a sustainability intern at Calvin College. “It’s about faith, food and fun.”
The festival, named for Wendell Berry’s 1973 poem, “Manifesto: Mad Farmer Liberation Front,” was organized by Dickens and other sustainability interns at Calvin College. The interns are supervised by the on-campus Residence Life staff.
College students throughout North America are turning their attention to food issues. Whether it’s growing some of their own food, majoring in Sustainable Agriculture or hosting festivals like the Mad Farmer Food Festival, food is a topic that everyone relates to, participates in, and is dependent upon.
Students are making the connection that food, at every stage – from growth to waste – is a topic that we need to care about. To quote the Center for Environmental Leadership and their outcomes document from a recent Symposium on Food, “the time is right for Christian individuals and groups concerned about food to come together and collaborate for greater collective impact to help reform the current food system so it better reflects Christian values and principles: that is, a food system that produces healthy, just, and ecologically sustainable food for all.”
As the last line of the of Berry’s poem suggests, let us “practice resurrection.”