“This is much more than eating food,” says Linda James, nutrition and dietetics, who teaches the Food in the World Inquiry class.
She’s paired with Dr. Joan Kopperud, English, who is engaging the class to write about their experiences under the theme of Food as Identity, Conflict and Culture.
The 22 students in the paired inquiry and writing classes started bonding in their freshman Orientation club. Their Hands for Change project was working at a food pantry. Now, they’ve become a cohesive group who is exploring firsthand how to become “responsibly engaged in the world.”
The students recently harvested and cleaned pumpkins, saving the seeds for planting next year. They then baked pumpkin bread, which they shared with the residents of a Moorhead assisted living center, where they spent time visiting with the residents while decorating pumpkins.
Their inquiry class examines global hunger issues, while the writing section helps them explore issues related to food choices, and how these choices affect health, sustainability and the environment.
“We’re connecting issues like biodiversity, locally grown foods, weight control and making good food choices,” says Kopperud. “We visited a local organic farm, interviewed the farmer, helped harvest and then wrote about it.”
For most of the students, it was the first time they had experienced the effort involved in how food moves from farm to table, James says.
“The class saw there is a culture to producing food, and that buying local does make a difference in terms of quality, freshness and keeping people employed in the local community,” says James.
James and Kopperud think their class fits well with Concordia’s goals for Orientation, service-learning and the overarching academic theme of BREW (Becoming Responsibly Engaged in the World).
“Now that I’m in this class, I have new thoughts about BREW,” says Courtney Leier ’15, Fargo, N.D. “It’s not just an expression. I can see that it encourages holistic learning. I’m grateful for the opportunity to put BREW into action.”