President’s letter

An update: Nourishing Body and Mind: Bates Contemplates Food

Nov. 5, 2008

Harvest Greetings!

This year’s Otis Lecture, presented last Monday evening by author and journalist Michael Pollan, brought discussion of food to the forefront again at Bates. We were overwhelmed by the crowd of visitors from all over the region who came to hear Pollan’s presentation and were sorry that we had to turn many away. As you may know, Pollan graciously offered to repeat his talk Tuesday morning.

Inspired by our Otis Lecture and eager for the annual Harvest Meal in a couple of weeks, the planning committee for Nourishing Body and Mind: Bates Contemplates Food, our yearlong initiative to connect the impact of food choices on campus and intellectual life at Bates, invites you again to consider how your own work, research, study or campus organization might take up the questions and connect to others on campus and in the Lewiston-Auburn community.

Some of the ways Bates has contemplated our food connections thus far include:

And of course, each meal served in the Dining Commons celebrates local, sustainable cuisine, every day.

Link your own work to Bates Contemplates Food via the special section of the Bates Web site. There you will find the latest food-related Bates news, including excerpts from my Convocation address, an interview with Dining Services Director Christine Schwartz, and a calendar of upcoming events.

To submit an activity or event for the calendar, send information to staff writer Doug Hubley in the Communications and Media Relations office.

If you have an idea for a speaker, event or activity you think might be an innovative or interesting way to engage Bates students, staff, faculty and alumni, send your suggestion or proposal to theBates Contemplates Food planning committee, c/o co-chair Jennifer Richard.

Have you read a good book, eaten a great local meal, visited a local farm, seen a thought-provoking documentary or been thinking about some aspect of your own food connections or traditions? Share your thoughts on the Bates Contemplates Food blog.

Upcoming events that explore food connections and consequences at Bates include:

  • A student art exhibit in Commons
  • The annual Harvest Dinner
  • And a series of “Cats Convivia” cooking demonstrations presented by Dining Services.

Plans are under way for winter and spring semester activities including addressing food access and food justice issues and possible campus visits from prominent food activists, authors and Bates alumni. Your ideas and participation are welcome and encouraged.

Food and eating touch every aspect of living together in community. What we eat, how we grow and harvest and prepare it, whether we eat alone or we eat with people — in all these choices we’re expressing something about our identity and our culture. And we’re learning something every time we eat, whether we know it or not. Thank you to all who have participated so far, and we look forward to continuing and deepening our conversations about food at Bates.

Elaine Hansen
Bates Contemplates Food planning committee:

Jennifer Richard (co-chair), Lynne Lewis, Christine Schwartz, Camille Parrish, Emily Grady, Doug Hubley, Anna Bartel, Heather Bumps, Sue Futrell (advisor)