Students Host "Food Week" about Health, Environment, and Social Justice

Gwen O’Brien 
Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556
(574) 284-4579

April 13, 2012 (Notre Dame, Ind.)–The Saint Mary’s Sustainable Food Committee, a student led group, will be host the College’s first annual Food Week Monday-Friday, April 16-20. The mission of Food Week is to engage students and community members in a discussion of food issues. Organizers will provide opportunities to learn about food issues concerning health, the environment, social justice, and many other topics. The schedule of events includes speakers, documentaries, and special meals on campus, all of which are open to the public. Each day is designed to focus on a different food topic.

Monday, April 16 is dedicated to culinary arts and the link between nutrition and health. Maya Parson, a cultural anthropologist and writer for the food magazine Edible Michiana, will speak at noon in Conference Rooms D & E in the Student Center about “Food, Pleasure and the Culinary Arts”. At 7 p.m., Marilyn Shannon, author of Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition, also the topic of her lecture, will share her knowledge gained from her background with Indiana University’s Medical Sciences Program and Natural Family Planning.

On Tuesday, April 17, Michele Dahms, a local raw food chef will speak about the benefits of raw food. Her lecture is connected to the second day’s theme, diet and nutrition. At 5 p.m. in Spes Unica Hall, Room 145, Dahms will discuss the importance of diet and lifestyle changes in supporting a healthy lifestyle. She will also demonstrate how to prepare raw recipes.

The theme for Wednesday, April 18 is farming and local food movements. Food Week’s keynote speaker, Temra Costa, author of Farmer Jane, will present her lecture titled “The Roots of the American Meal.” Costa is a nationally recognized farming and sustainable food advocate. Guests will have the opportunity to meet Costa during the book signing and reception following the lecture. The keynote address will be held in Carroll Auditorium, Madeleva Hall at 7 p.m.

Thursday, April 19 will highlight sustainability practices related to food. The documentary “Food, Inc.” will be shown at 7 p.m. in Vander Vennet Theatre, in the Student Center. The film discusses industrial farming practices and the alleged threats to health and environment. An organic milk and cookie bar will accompany the showing of the film and a panel discussion led by Saint Mary’s faculty will follow the viewing.

On Friday, April 20 the topic will be food justice. Margaret Pfeil, assistant professor of moral theology and a faculty fellow of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, will speak on the connection between faith and the call to address food injustice. Following her lecture, students will present on the Real Food Initiative at Saint Mary’s College. In the fall College President Carol Ann Mooney and Barry Bowles, director of Dining Services (Sodexo) signed the Real Food Commitment, a pledge to purchase at least 20 percent “real food” by 2020, increase transparency, and engage more students and community members in the process. Students will update the status of this initiative and share the progress that has been made on campus. The presentations will occur at 3 p.m. in Vander Vennet Theatre, in the Student Center.

Food Week is organized by the Sustainable Food Committee with the support of Saint Mary's Student Government Association, Saint Mary's Environmental Action Coalition, Student Nurses' Association, Rotaract, Friends with Animals, the Residence Hall Association, and Student Activities Board. 

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, women’s institution offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study. Saint Mary’s College has six nationally accredited academic programs: social work, art, music, teacher education, chemistry and nursing. Saint Mary's College ranks among the top 100 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” for 2012 published by U.S. News and World Report. Founded in 1844, Saint Mary’s is a pioneer in the education of women, and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

About the Real Food Challenge is a student-driven campaign to create a more healthy, just and sustainable food system. Working with students at over 350 colleges and universities, the Challenge has, to date, shifted $35 million in institutional food purchases to family farms and fair food businesses. For more information, visit or contact David Schwartz, Campaign Director, at 401-527-8777,