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Appalachian hosts Food for Thought: A Sustainable, Community Series on Food beginning March 7

By Ellen Gwin Burnette

BOONE, N.C.—This spring, Appalachian State University is hosting a four-part community series on sustainable food. Appalachian Food Research for Equity, Sustainability and Health (AppalFRESH) and Research Institute for Environment, Energy and Economics (RIEEE) will sponsor “Food for Thought,” a series of talks about sustainable food in the High Country. Each of the sessions will take place in the Jimmy Smith Room of the Roess Central Dining Hall from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The events are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served and additional food will be available for purchase in the Central Dining Hall.

The first in the series on Tuesday, March 7, is “Food Sovereignty in the High Country: from a global movement to our local community.” Jacqui Ignatova, a faculty member in the Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development, and Grace Plummer, program specialist for the the Appalachian Energy Center and RIEEE, will lead the round-table discussion on the meaning of food sovereignty and its relevance to our community. Food sovereignty is defined by the United States Food Sovereignty Alliance as “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.” The snow date is Tuesday, March 21.

The second session, Thursday, March 23, is “Food Security: food access issues among rural and low income populations.” The discussion will focus on factors contributing to and strategies for alleviating food insecurity in this region. Food insecurity, as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture, is “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.” A question and answer session led by Adam Hege, assistant professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science, and Lanae Ball, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management, will follow.

Session three of the series, “Let’s Get Cooking: what science tells us about efficient cooking and children’s eating,” is scheduled for Tuesday, April. 4. This lecture and question and answer session will look at research that suggests parents play an important role in socialization of children’s eating behaviors and long-term habits. It will also explore the science that informs the selection of kitchen tools, such cast iron skillets, that can boost iron intake. Led by Amy Galloway, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, and Carla Ramsdell, a lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the session will look at effective and efficient ways to cook for enjoyment and success.

The final session on Tuesday, May 2, “Food and Film in the High Country,” is a screening of three short documentaries created by students in the Appalachian studies master’s program in the College of Arts and Sciences. The films highlight food-related issues in the High Country including beekeeping, F.A.R.M. Cafe (a pay-what-you-can community cafe that feeds all regardless of means) and a 19th-century water-powered mill in Meat Camp. This session will be hosted by Jessica Martell and Zack Vernon, assistant professors in the Department of English.

For a map and more information, visit or contact Carla Ramsdell at with questions or to obtain video of the events.


Appalachian State University’s Research Institute for Environment, Energy, and Economics is an internationally recognized and applied multi-disciplinary research entity that enhances Appalachian’s academic programs and fosters interdisciplinary research addressing environment, energy and economic issues. Research from the institute supports academic programs at Appalachian, K-12 student populations and teachers, government and public officials (local, regional, state, federal and international), decision makers from businesses and industry, and the general public.

About AppalFRESH

Appalachian Food Research for Equity, Sustainability and Health Collaborative is a new, but growing group of faculty, staff and graduate students at Appalachian State University with a common interest in research, education and engagement related to socially, economically and ecologically viable food systems. AppalFRESH strives to host and promote events that lead to a better understanding of and spur conversations around food issues, conduct and support research on salient food issues, and to be of service to faculty, staff, community members and students by sharing resources, and making and maintaining connections.

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 student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.