By GRETCHEN GREGORY
A series of workshops are being held Friday, April 20 at Ohio University as part of a project designed to highlight the local food community in Athens County and to encourage college student participation in the community in which they live.
The workshops are part of a university-funded project, “Feeding Community: A Collaboration Between Artists, Writers and Local Food Producers,” and is designed to bring together a diverse population of OU students, faculty and alumni, and local food producers.
The assistant coordinator of the project is Becca J.R. Lauchman, a creative writer who has a master’s degree in English and poetry. She explained the goal of the project is to encourage undergraduates to explore the local food culture and give local food producers a voice.
“The food culture and sustainability emphasis are two things I treasure about living here,” she said. “I come from Ohio’s Amish country – in Wayne and Homes County up north. And the irony is my Mennonite grandma buys a lot of her food from large stores. The more I look around me, the more I realize that what we digest – both food-wise and life-wise, makes a big difference in our health and wellness.”
The project combines art and literary students with local food producers in a very unique way, and the workshops are centered on this idea.
The workshops include:
Friday, April 20, 9:10 to 10:30 a.m., Seigfred Hall, Mitchell Auditorium
OU professor, activist, and author Ted Bernard: “Hope and Hard Times: Sustainable Communities.”
Friday, April 20, 1:10 to 2:30 p.m., Seigfred Hall 201a
Author and OU professor Eric LeMay: “Writing About Food” + food tasting
Saturday, April 21, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Good Earth Farm, Athens
Earth Day weekend work day + free local lunch
May 15to 20 (Lecture time and location TBA)
Alumni visiting screenprinting and activist artist Bill Fisher
Tuesday, May 22, 7:30 p.m. ARTS/West, Athens
Final event: Live local music, food, book exhibition & books for sale! Free for OU students. Donations collected for the Athens Farmers Market.
As a creative writer, Lachman says she has wanted to start a chapbook press in Athens for a long time. After speaking with her neighbor, artist and art professor Danielle Wyckoff about coming up with a project, these workshops and events are the overall result.
“The longer I’m here in Athens, the more local food producers I’m getting to know,” Lachman continued. “These are people who realize Athens’ potential and its uniqueness, and they’re all really amazing individuals. I think the arts can enliven and enrich just about any social conversation, and so when it comes to food politics and food economies, we can look to our artists to help tell the story. And we need to hear this story.”