Local, global food issues on menu for UNC-Duke symposium

Will Allen started a community food center, Growing Power, with the belief that all people, regardless of their economic circumstances, should have access to fresh, safe, affordable and nutritious food.

Duke, in collaboration with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, will host one day of a two-day conference, "Shared Tables: A Triangle Symposium on Local and Global Food Studies."

The symposium begins Feb. 28 at UNC. On Feb. 29 the conference moves to Duke's campus. Will Allen, founder and executive director of Growing Power, will deliver a keynote address at 7 p.m. at Reynolds Theater in Duke's Bryan Center. The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited, so participants are asked to register in advance at http://sharedtablessymp.wordpress.com/registration.

The symposium is organized by Triangle University Food Studies, a working group of faculty and students from area universities. It will capitalize on the local food movements gaining ground on Triangle campuses. Symposium topics include the Farm Bill 2012; farming in North Carolina; farming and technology; food and the humanities, culture and faith; and food access. 

Growing Power is dedicated to cultivating, producing and delivering healthy foods to underserved populations. Allen will discuss the challenge of providing food security for urban communities such as Milwaukee, Detroit and Chicago. Named a 2008 MacArthur "Genius" Fellow, Allen has worked with Michelle Obama on her "Let's Move" campaign to fight childhood obesity. He also has worked abroad to strengthen food security for schoolchildren in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

On UNC's campus on Feb. 28, farmer Tom Philpott, an award-winning food journalist at Mother Jones magazine will deliver a 7 p.m. keynote address at the UNC FedEx Global Education Center. Update: Registration is closed for Philpott event.

Philpott, the co-founder of Maverick Farms, will discuss factors that affect the world's ability to feed its population sustainably in the years to come. He has also served as columnist and editor for the online environmental site Grist and has covered food politics for Newsweek, Gastronomica and The Guardian.

For more information and a full schedule, visit http://sharedtablessymp.wordpress.com