December 6, 2018 at 10:30 am

Students, Faculty, and Community Members Discuss Food and Agriculture in Region

Dane Salabek, one of the panelist, smiles during the conversation.

Dane Salabek, one of the panelist, smiles during the conversation. Photo by Nick Oatley

The Food Studies theme teamed up with Food Matters Club and Community Food Initiatives to host a panel, Eating for Change, on Dec. 4.

Panelists included Joy Kostansek, the Food Studies graduate assistant; Dane Salabak, a professor in the School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness and manager of the Atrium Cafe on campus; Mary Nally, Director of the Center for Campus and Community Engagement; Joe Barbaree, Rural Action Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry Program Manager; and Paul Tomcho, owner of Creekside Farm.

The evening was spent discussing the importance of smaller scale regional agriculture, and its value and presence in southeast Ohio. The five panelist all have different experiences with food and agriculture in the region and shared their knowledge and passion for the topic with the audience.

View of panelist and audience member through the window outside of the Friends of the Library Room at Alden Library.

Panelist and audience discuss food and agriculture in Southeast Ohio. Photo by Nick Oatley

Questions for the panelists ranged from their personal reasons for working within the realm of food and agriculture, how regional agriculture can benefit economic development and sustainability, and what regional agriculture means to Appalachian Ohio.

The conversation touched on various topics, including current food and agriculture initiatives and what the future could look like for the regional food system. Highlights from the night included the value of the Athens Farmers Market and Chesterhill Produce Auction for farmers, tourism, and the economy in the region, the importance of sustainable agriculture in preserving the landscape of southeast Ohio, and the opportunity for continual growth and improvement for regional food and farming.

By the end of the panel, students were asking questions about how they could eat more locally and support the region through their food choices during their time at Ohio University.

Excited and inspired by the evening, the Food Studies theme students and faculty plan to turn this panel event into a continued series in order to continue the conversation, reach more students, and provide opportunities for Ohio University students and faculty to connect with the local community. As food is such an integral part of sustainability, the economy, culture, politics, and development, students from various majors are interested in learning more about its role in our community, and society more generally.

Food studies graphic, with outlines of eggplant, tomato, corn, etc.


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