Celebrate All Things Food In October

Duke hosts events leading up to Oct. 24 national 'Food Day'

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Duke student Alice Kodama submitted this photo as part of the Sustainable Duke Food Day photo contest. It's one of several food-related events happening in October. Photo courtesy of Sustainable Duke.

While Durham is known for its locally-themed food scene, Duke students, staff and faculty can go hyperlocal right on Duke's campus.

This October, Duke community members can take part in a celebration of food all month as part of ongoing activities leading up to Food Day on Oct. 24, a nationwide celebration to highlight health, nutrition and people's connection to food they eat. Duke will host its own community dinner on West Campus to celebrate that day.

"Every day, we make choices about what we eat and October's Food Day celebrations highlight a search for options that are more sustainable," said Casey Roe, outreach coordinator for Sustainable Duke. "Events focused around food are a fun way to bring together the Duke community, while promoting local, organic, and healthy food options."

Events, which will be hosted by student organizations and Sustainable Duke, include contests, a beet festival and more.

To get a sense for how Duke is committed to healthy and sustainable food, students and employees need only start at the Duke Campus Farm, where each week, at least 10 volunteers help care for a variety of produce. This fall, carrots, beets, salad greens and more will go straight from the farm into Duke's dining halls.

"Spending time at the farm is a wonderful way to connect with the earth in a very fundamental way," said Jennifer Masat, a clinical nurse in Duke's Neurodiagnostics Lab who volunteers at the Duke Campus Farm. "It helps people realize where their food is coming from, and they can see where it goes. I'm all about organic and local food, so the farm is the best of both worlds."

Masat is excited for October's Food Day events because they will provide a chance for Duke community members to learn more about Duke's efforts to promote healthy eating choices. In addition to being used in Duke's dining halls, produce from the Duke Campus Farm was also sold for the first time this summer at the Duke Farmers Market.

As part of the Food Day celebration, the Duke Campus Farm will hold its first Beet Festival from 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 20. Open to all Duke community members, the event will feature music, lawn games and food like beet salad, beet gnocchi and beet chocolate cake.

Students and employees have also showed off their love for food through Sustainable Duke's Food Day photo competition. To participate, students, faculty and staff submited photos on the Sustainable Duke Facebook page. A winner will be announced today and receive free registration to a Duke Campus Farm workshop and other prizes.

"We are celebrating sustainable, local and healthy food choices, but everyone has their own personal story to tell about food," said Roe, the sustainability outreach coordinator. "We want to hear from the members of the Duke community what food means to you."