By ARIEL SEIDNER
Cornellians gathered for the University’s first annual celebration of World Food Day — which featured a festival on the Agriculture Quad, documentary screenings and a faculty information panel — to create awareness about issues and reforms in the field of nutrition and food policy on Thursday and Friday.
The festival on the Agriculture Quad featured various vendors, including the Farmers Market at Cornell, Cornell Vegan Society and the Cornell Food Recovery Network, according to Jessi Silverman ’17, the organizer of the event. She added that she thought the event helped raise campus awareness about issues regarding food and nutrition.
“The biggest accomplishment of Cornell’s first Food Day was making Cornellians more aware of Food Day’s existence and its purpose,” she said. “Food Day coordination brought together a lot of Cornellians who are all interested in a better food system … from different perspectives.”
Each vendor in attendance gave their own interpretation of what it means to produce, consume, and advocate for food that is healthy for both human consumption and the environment.
Samantha Gitlin ’17, a member of Health Nuts, a student organization that supports health, nutrition and wellness among the Cornell and Ithaca communities, said it is important to raise awareness about healthy alternatives to snacks and junk food. At the event, Health Nuts gave out free samples of healthy snack options to students to support healthier eating habits.
“There are so many healthy substitutions that you can make when snacking, which can be a big problem for students,” Gitlin said.
HoneyRock Farm, another vendor at the event, prides itself on producing all natural and locally produced honey in dozens of flavors, and the farm’s entire proceeds are put toward helping the youth of the Ithaca community according to Sharon Hilker, co-owner of the farm.
“[We produce honey that is] unpasteurized, so that it retains natural properties of amino acids, minerals, vitamins, live enzymes and antioxidants that are considered essential for good health,” Hilker said.
The interactive faculty panel — featuring Prof. David Levitsky, nutritional sciences; Prof. Peter Hobbs, crop and soil sciences; Prof. Dan Brown, animal science; Prof. Philip McMichael, development sociology and winner of the 2001 World Food Prize, Prof. Emeritus Per Pinstrup-Anderson, nutritional sciences — addressed various issues in global nutrition, including sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty, according to Silverman.
Panel members discussed issues including sustainable plant and animal agriculture, inaction and reform among health policy-makers worldwide and healthful eating to achieve wellness and avoid obesity.
The event concluded with a dinner celebration at Okenshields featuring sustainable, seasonal and locally sourced food offerings prepared by Cornell Dining. The menu included sustainable and local foods such as locally grown vegetables and Cornell Apples.
Rhiana Gademsky ’16, chair of the dining committee for the Student Assembly, said that the menu included many healthy ingredients.
“Chef Steven Miller and Anthony Cecela created this menu to support the issue of sustainability and used a lot of local and regional items,” she said.