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Sustainable Food Week kicks off with National Food Day and public lecture Oct. 24

By: Meghan McCandless

BOONE—Appalachian State University, in partnership with Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, will present Sustainable Food Week Oct. 24-29. The campus community and the public are invited to participate in both on- and off-campus events throughout the week, beginning with Dr. Gary Paul Nabhan’s public keynote, “Conservation You Can Taste,” on Oct. 24 at 5:30 p.m. in Room 114 Belk Library and Information Commons.

View larger imageDr. Gary Paul Nabhan, W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona Southwest Center. Photo courtesy of Gary Nabhan

The celebration continues throughout the week with additional events that are open to the public, and most of which are free of charge. Events include a campus farmers’ market and seed drive, the AppalFRESH Sustainable Food Forum and a screening of the film “Food Chains.”

Sustainable Food Week is designed to bring attention to the problems within the food system, as well as to highlight solutions.

Dr. Jacqui Ignatova, assistant professor in Appalachian’s Department of Sustainable Development, describes the week as “a celebration of what we have as a community through our campus farmers’ market, an heirloom apple tasting and a plant walk to learn about local biodiversity, as well as a forum that will showcase the work on sustainable food by our faculty and community partners that support food security.”

Nabhan is an internationally celebrated nature writer, agrarian activist and ethnobiologist whose work focuses on conserving the links between biodiversity and cultural diversity. He has been honored as a pioneer and creative force in the local food movement and seed-saving community by Utne Reader, Mother Earth News, New York Times, Bioneers and Time magazine. He is the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona Southwest Center and also serves as founding director of the Center for Regional Food Systems.

“We have the great honor to bring Dr. Nabhan to campus to talk about strategies to revive and adapt place-based foods,” said Ignatova.

Additional presenters include seed-saving expert Holly Whitesides of Against the Grain Farm in Zionville, Carol Coulter of Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and other local sustainable food specialists.

A plant walk in the university’s nature reserve is also offered. Advance registration for the walk is required and admission is $10 per person.

Sustainable Food Week is sponsored by AppalFRESH (Appalachian Food Research for Equity, Sustainability, and Health) Collaborative, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, the Office of Sustainability, the Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development, the Department of Anthropology, RIEEE (Research Institute for Environment, Energy, and Economics) and the Sustainable Development Student Alliance.

Advance registration is required for some events. To learn more and view a full event schedule, visit

About Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture

Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) is dedicated to strengthening the High Country’s local food system by supporting women and their families with resources, education and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture. BRWIA also is dedicated to increasing the economic viability of farming and food processing, encouraging farmers to adopt sustainable farming practices, educating the public about sustainable food and agriculture and improving food security.

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low faculty-to-student ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.