Reportback from Knox College: Making Plans for Two-fold Change

March 16, 2011

Helen Schnoes, a senior at Knox College, sent us this reportback last Sunday. Please enjoy!

Since the Real Food Road Trip visit to Knox College, we have continued to progress with initiatives and collaborations to improve food at Knox. Pre-existing projects towards implementing campus composting and addressing community food injustice continue to march forward. We have been busy planning and preparing for our spring planting in the campus community garden – investigating the best crops to plant this year, planning their location, and exploring additional funding opportunities for summer gardeners. As our winter trimester winds to a close this week, we look ahead to planting seedlings once back on campus at the end of March.

The most inspiring development to arise from the RFC visit remains the creation of the Knox Food Coalition. After Katie and Katelyn bid us adieu, we organized a Sustainable Food Forum with two environmental studies professors, our dining services director, and the local CSA grower who has become our defacto garden adviser. We used this event to carry forward the ideas generated during the RFC workshops. The discussion ranged from broad considerations such as the true meaning of “sustainability,” to more specific inquiry into what challenges and opportunities we face at Knox regarding improving our food on campus. Since then, we have had two meetings of the Knox Food Coalition—a collection of student groups, professors, and other interested individuals dedicated to working for food reform. Because we are in our infancy, we have initially focused on brainstorming what it is we want to work to change. Two central objectives emerged: increasing the amount of local, sustainable food from the area that our dining service buys and working to establish a farm and orchard on campus. Now, on the cusp of spring break, we have created two subcommittees to focus on specific projects in these two areas and set April 16 as a deadline for an initial proposal of cost-benefit analysis, feasibility study, etc. to present to the whole coalition so we can take this to the next level.

As we progress we are implementing the tactics and strategies we learned from Katie and Katelyn – multi-layered goal setting, SMART goals, understanding our limitations and assets, etc. Most importantly, over the cold days of winter the energy on campus for food reform has not dissipated as the snow has melted, and we look forward to watching our efforts blossom with the coming of spring. Indeed, we have our eyes set on next fall, and making sure that more of the crops harvested in the fields surrounding our small town end up at Knox, to fill our bellies and improve our relations to both the food we eat and the community in which we live.