The University of Toledo will host a series of programs designed to educate and foster connections within the agricultural community.
The program, Women and Sustainable Agriculture Series, is a first at the University. According to Dr. Ashley Pryor, UT associate professor of women’s and gender studies, “The series will focus on local and global strategies for food acquisition and production. There are very serious issues that come hand in hand with rapid globalization and industrial agriculture.”
Pryor points to an increase in worldwide poverty, which correlates to increased prices for staple products, such as corn and soybeans.
“When prices inflate, as corn has during the past few years, people in countries that depend on it for sustenance begin to starve to death,” Pryor said.
She organized the series with Dr. Ann Krause and Dr. Stacy Philpott, both UT assistant professors of ecology, with a $16,000 Strategic Enhancement Award.
The event’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Marion Nestle, the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition at New York University. She is a nationally recognized expert and author of What to Eat.
“We could not have a more timely speaker,” Pryor noted. “Dr. Nestle has been interviewed extensively during the past few weeks for her expertise regarding the health crisis with certain peanut butter products.”
Nestle will speak Tuesday, March 17, at 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Field House Room 2100 on Main Campus.
Pryor said the series has been initiated to offer more than just information and education. She said community organizations, including Toledo GROWs, Organic Bliss and Phoenix Earth Food Co-Op, will be involved at many of the events, offering “how-to” connections for participants.
The organizers hope to establish a UT Outdoor Classroom Garden as the culmination of the series. The garden would offer agricultural opportunities in UT’s urban setting and provide a location for field research and discussion in conjunction with course work. The garden is envisioned as a space open to the campus community and also would foster outreach activities with nearby communities.
“We want to take local students into this setting to show them things like composting, food preservation and urban homesteading,” Pryor said. “Fostering an environment where people can produce their own crops in a hands-on setting helps them realize how sustainable agriculture really works.”
Other events will include a festival of documentaries produced by feminist filmmakers, including UT’s Charlene Gilbert, director of the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women and professor in the departments of Women’s and Gender Studies and Theatre and Film. Her film, “Homecoming/Sometimes I am Haunted by Memories of Red Dirt and Clay,” chronicles her family’s ongoing struggle to continue its farming business. The film will be shown Wednesday, Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m. in Bowman-Oddy Laboratories Room 1045 on Main Campus.
Other films to be featured include “American Outrage” on Wednesday, Feb. 11, “Letters From the Other Side” on Tuesday, Feb. 17, and “Darwin’s Nightmare” on Tuesday, March 3. All will be screened at 7:30 p.m. in the Bowman-Oddy location.
For information about additional free, public events, contact Pryor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The complete schedule is available here.