Thought for Food – 2010-2011 Annual Theme

The common expression that “we are what we eat” only partially captures the reasons why food is such an important topic. How we produce food and choose the food we consume directly shapes not only who we are, but it also directly affects our health, the health of others, the health care system of the United States, the underlying economy, and ultimately the planet and all the living beings residing on it.

Food and health, in short, are so closely intertwined that one cannot be sensibly considered without an in-depth examination of the other. Topics range from increasing cancer and obesity rates, environmental toxicity of pesticides, the health and ethics of meat production, the erosion of a rich historical and cultural heritage that once connected food, society and land to its replacement by a ‘McDonaldization’ of production types and consumer choices. Since these topics cross disciplinary boundaries, they connect the natural sciences with the social sciences and the humanities at a time when Dickinson College is trying to make sustainability a defining feature of academic learning and institutional policy. Moreover, sustainable agriculture and the related food system that supports it present opportunities for business entrepreneurship and venues for spirited debates over a wide variety of issues, including food labeling, genetic modification, and organic food standards. This was the Clarke Forum theme for the 2010-11 academic year.

Food Access & Poverty

Thursday, February 8, 2018Food Access Poverty Final
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.


Alyssa Feher, Tapestry of Health
Becca Raley ’94 (moderator), Partnership for Better Health
Risa Waldoks ’12, The Food Trust
Robert Weed ’80, Project Share

Food security allows all people to have access to regular, culturally appropriate food sources to ensure a healthy existence. Increased reliance on national and state food assistance programs reflect rising poverty and food insecurity in our community. Panelists will discuss both the systemic nature of persistent poverty and food insecurity and innovations designed to address these root concerns.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Department of Environmental Studies, the Center for Sustainability Education, the Food Studies Program, Partnership for Better Health and the Churchill Fund. It is also part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Biographies (provided by the panelists)

Alyssa FeherAlyssa Feher has served as the director of the Tapestry of Health WIC Program servicing Cumberland, Perry, Mifflin, and Juniata counties since 2011.  Feher is responsible for overseeing clinic operations and works frequently with clients needing assistance from multiple agencies.  She previously served as the human resources manager Read more

Sean Sherman


The Evolution of Indigenous Food Systems of North America

Friday, November 3, 2017
Stern Center, Great Room, 4:30 p.m.

Committed to revitalizing Native American cuisine, Sherman will share his  research uncovering the foundations of the Indigenous food systems. There will be a book sale and signing following the presentation.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the the Office of Dean & Provost – Neil Weissman, the Center for Sustainability Education, the Department of Anthropology & Archaeology, American Studies, Environmental Studies, and the Food Studies Program.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

bowmanSean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, born in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, has been cooking in Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana for the last 27 years.  In the last few years, his main culinary focus has been on the revitalizing of indigenous foods systems in a modern culinary context.  Sean has studied on his own extensively to determine the foundations of these food systems which include the knowledge of Native American farming techniques, wild food usage and harvesting, land stewardship, salt and sugar making, hunting and fishing, food preservation, Native American migrational histories, elemental cooking techniques, and Native culture Read more

Marion Nestle

marion nestle posterProfessor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, New York University

Thought for Food

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

Agricultural sustainability is intimately linked to public health because agricultural production methods not only affect food availability, but also food product development, food distribution systems, climate change, as well as the health of farm animals, communities and individuals.

Topical Background (provided by the speaker)
Many of the problems in our current food system can be traced back to changes in agricultural policies in the 1970s. Soon after, changes in the U.S. food environment—agricultural as well as corporate–promoted a culture in which it became socially acceptable to consume more calories than expended. The resulting “epidemic” of obesity threatens the health and security of Americans, strains the health care system, and creates a substantial economic burden on society. Underlying these changes is an overabundant and overly competitive food system in which companies are required to expand market channels in order to meet corporate growth targets. The contradiction between public health goals and corporate goals has led to a large and growing food movement in the United States aimed at changing the system in order to promote healthier and Read more

Feeding Dickinson

feeding dickinson poster webPanel Discussion

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.


Jennifer Halpin, director of the college’s organic farm
Jay Myers of the food distributor, Feesers, Inc.
Keith Martin, director of dining services
Ben Riggs ’86, Four Seasons Produce Distributors
Scott Wagner, John Gross & Co.
Moderated by Andy Skelton, professor of psychology, Dickinson College

Each day, Dickinson College provides thousands of meals for students and employees. How does an institution feed so many people, with such a variety of tastes and needs? Where does all this food come from and how is its quality assured? Our panel will address these and related questions, offering a glimpse behind the scenes of how a residential college feeds its population.

Biographies (provided by the panelists)

HalpinJennifer Halpin
Halpin manages the production and educational aspects of the Dickinson College Farm, in addition to working cooperatively with students and faculty to create meaningful educational experiences on the farm. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), is an active member of the South-central Buy Fresh, Buy Local Campaign and is the board president of Farmers on the Square, a producer-only Read more

Heidi Skolnik

Eating you way to athletic success webSports Nutrition Consultant to the New York Giants, New York Knicks, The Juilliard School and The School of American Ballet

Eating Your Way to Athletic Success

Thursday, March 3, 2011
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

Nutrient Timing for Peak Performance is a strategic approach in what, when, and how much to eat of selected foods to maximize athletic conditioning, training and performance. Learn some of the tools that athletes can use to reduce risk of injury, maximize muscle repair, maintain a healthy immune system and increase endurance.

This is event is co-sponsored by the Department of Athletics.

Biography (provided by the speaker)Skolnik
Considered a thought leader in the nutrition, Heidi is the Sports Nutrition Consultant to the The NY Knicks Basketball Team, The Juilliard School, School of American Ballet and Fordham University Athletics. She was the team nutritionist for the past 18 years for The Football Giants and continues to see clients one-to-one one day a week at The Women’s Sports Medicine Center at Hospital of Special Surgery. Heidi is a contributing advisor to Men’s Health magazine and is co-author of Nutrient Timing for Peak Performance; the right food, the right time, the right results (Human Kinetics, 2010) and Read more

It Takes More than the “Veg”

by veg posterPanel Discussion

Thursday, February 10, 2011
Stern Center, Great Room, 12:00 p.m.


Chad M. Kimmel, associate professor of sociology, Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Shippensburg University
David Sarcone, associate professor, Department of International Business and Management, Dickinson College

Carlisle, Pennsylvania has a rich history of farmers markets. From the “Market House(s)” located on the square for more than a century, to the more modern market buildings that followed, farmers have continually engaged in commercial activities in Carlisle since the middle of the 18th century. Honoring this tradition, the Carlisle Central Farmers Market (CCFM) established itself as a year round, hybrid public/farmers market. CCFM espoused both social and economic goals as stated in its mission statement – “…to promote sustainable agriculture practices, to encourage healthy eating, and to provide entrepreneurial opportunities for those who produce and sell local products.” But what began in September 2007 as a well intentioned venture, ended in February 2009.

This presentation will explore the life history of CCFM, and will pay particular attention to the timeline of events and decisions that opened, maintained and finally closed the market. Other models/timelines of farmers market development in other parts of the nation will be used for purposes Read more

Sandra Steingraber – “Morgan Lecturer”

World Renowned Ecologist, Author and Cancer Survivor

“Fracking” Our Food: A New Threat to Sustainable Farming

Steingraber Final

(originally scheduled for February 2)
New Date:

Thursday, February 3, 2011
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.

A reception and book signing will follow.

We are standing at a historic confluence, a place where two rivers meet: a stream of emerging knowledge about what the combustion of fossil fuels is doing to our planet is joining a stream of emerging knowledge about what synthetic chemicals derived from fossil fuels–such as pesticides and fertilizers–are doing to our bodies.” So writes biologist and author Sandra Steingraber in the second edition of her classic book, Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment. In this lecture, Steingraber will explore the tangled relationship between petrochemicals and farming, with a special focus on natural gas, the feedstock for many agricultural products and whose extraction from shale bedrock of our nation is threatening the ecological conditions that support our food system.

The event is co-sponsored by the Women’s Center, the Office of Institutional and Diversity Initiatives, and the Departments of Biology, American Studies and Environmental Studies.

Biography (provided by the speaker) Read more

Michael Ableman

Edited Ableman poster final web

Author, Educator, and Urban Agriculturalist

Feeding the Future

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 *
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium – 7:00 p.m.

Michael_Ableman_11_17_2010 video

A reception will immediately follow the presentation in the lobby of ATS. Book signing by the author and the opportunity to purchase Fields of Plenty will be offered at the reception.

Food may be the dominant issue of our time. The industrial system that brings it to us is unraveling, and the cost of that system, ecologically, socially, and personally is enormous.

But there is hope, individuals and communities are gathering together to rethink our food system, bringing honor and respect and craftsmanship back into farming, and recreating our farms as places that nourish and nurture and teach and inspire.

Join Michael Ableman for an evening of inspiring stories and photographic imagery from around the world as he provides us with a sense of how we can participate in the solutions; on our farms and in our gardens, in our kitchens and at the dining room table, and in the communities where we live.

* This event is part of The Clarke Forum’s series on Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty.

This event is co-sponsored by The Clarke Forum Read more

Growth in the Garden: Food and Sustainability

poster web

Sally McMurry, professor of history, Penn State University
Brian Snyder, executive director, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

Thursday, November 4, 2010
Stern Center, Great Room
6:00 – Reception
7:00 – Program

One of the South Mountain Environmental History Lectures, this event features a keynote address by Professor McMurry titled “Pennsylvania’s Historic Farming Legacy and Sustainable Agriculture’s Future” and an additional presentation by Mr. Snyder who will discuss opportunities to capitalize on the fact that sustainably raised Pennsylvania products are centrally located to some of the largest population centers in the nation.

Biographies (provided by the speakers)
Sally McMurry is professor of history at Penn State University – University Park. She is a cultural and social historian of nineteenth-century America, with a special interest in the history of agriculture, landscape, architecture, and gender as they develop in rural contexts. She has published books and articles on these topics. Currently she is principal investigator for a multi-year collaborative project, ‘The Pennsylvania Agricultural History Project,’ which will create a resource that can be used by preservation professionals to evaluate Pennsylvania’s historic farm buildings and landscapes.

Brian Snyder is executive director of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), a position he has held Read more

Carole Counihan

Counihan poster - web

Professor of Anthropology, Millersville University

Italian Slow Food: Societal Change and Justice

Thursday, October 14, 2010
Stern Center, Great Room – 7:00 p.m.


This talk uses ethnographic interviews with members of the Italian Slow Food Movement – a coalition of 100,000 members around the world devoted to promoting “good, clean, and fair food” – to explore whether food practices can be the basis for advancing personal growth as well as social and economic justice.

This event is co-sponsored by the 2010: A Food Odyssey Learning Community and the First Year Seminar Program.

Biography (provided by speaker)
Carole M. Counihan is professor of anthropology at Millersville University in Pennsylvania. She has a BA in history cum laude from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts. Dr. Counihan’s research centers on food, culture, gender, and identity in the United States and Italy. Supported by a 2005-2006 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, she authored A Tortilla Is Like Life: Food and Culture in the San Luis Valley of Colorado (University of Texas Press, 2009), which is based on food-centered life histories collected from Hispanic women in the town of Antonito, Colorado. Counihan is also author of Around Read more

Eric Schlosser

final posterBestselling author of Fast Food Nation and co-producer of Food, Inc.

Thoughts on Food

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 *
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.

Schlosser will discuss what effects food production, distribution, and consumption have on society’s health, environment and culture.

* This event is part of The Clarke Forum’s series on Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty.

A reception will immediately follow the presentation in the lobby of ATS. Book signing by the author and the opportunity to purchase “Fast Food Nation” and “Chew on This” will be offered at the reception.

This event is co-sponsored by Student Senate, The Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life, The Division of Student Development, and the Departments of Religion, Judaic Studies, Environmental Studies and Psychology.

eric-schlosserBiography (provided by the speaker)
As an investigative journalist, Eric Schlosser continues to explore subjects ignored by the mainstream media and gives a voice to people at the margins of society. Over the years he’s followed the harvest with migrant farm workers in California, spent time with meatpacking workers in Texas and Colorado, told the stories of marijuana growers and pornographers and the victims of violent crime, gone on duty with the New York Police Read more

Eric Schlosser: A Preview

Final Schlosser Preview Poster_web

Faculty Panel Discussion on Eric Schlosser prior to his visit to Dickinson College

Thursday, September 16, 2010
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.


Scott Boback, Biology Department
Helen Takacs, International Business & Management Department
Karen Weinstein, Anthropology Department
Susannah Bartlow, Women’s Center, will serve as moderator

How has Eric Schlosser, co-producer of the film Food, Inc. and author of Fast Food Nation, contributed to the ongoing national debate concerning the quality of food in the United States? This panel will address this question as a way to preview Mr. Schlosser’s visit to Dickinson’s campus on September 28, 2010.

Video of the Program

  Read more