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Rhodes To Host Mid-South Farm To Table Conference

Publication Date: 2/7/2013

On Feb.12, Rhodes will host the third annual Mid-South Farm to Table Conference. The conference will bring together farmers, restaurant owners, food writers, students, and others to discuss ideas for developing and sustaining the local food system of Memphis and the Mid-South. This is the first year that the event will be held at Rhodes.

Sponsors of the 2013 Mid-South Farm to Table Conference include Rhodes, the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, Slow Food Memphis, Memphis Center for Food and Faith, and GrowMemphis.

Rhodes Anthropology and Sociology Professor Kimberly Kasper teaches a course on Food and Culture and has helped to organize the event and to raise awareness about food choices and sustainability on campus.

“In Memphis, there are a lot of interesting dynamics at play in terms of food,” says Kasper. “We have massive community health issues such as diabetes, but we also have an emerging grassroots effort to implement some positive changes. Hopefully this conference will kick off new dialogue and continue what is already going on.”

The conference will begin in Barret Library, where Director of Southern Foodways Alliance John T. Edge will deliver the keynote address at 9:30 a.m. From there, participants will break off into smaller panels in the library and in Orgill Room of Clough Hall to discuss topics ranging from the “Top Ten Fruit Varieties That Work in the Mid-South” to “Bright Future of Urban Agriculture.”

The Rhodes Garden Fellows have planned and are sponsoring a lunch panel titled “Got Food? Sustainable Food & the Future of Memphis.” The panel will feature local restaurant owners including representatives from the Ghost River Brewery, South Memphis Farmer’s Market, GrowMemphis and Whitton Farms to discuss sustainability and the ways in which the foodscape in Memphis is changing. Garden Fellows Caroline Todd ’14, Laura Brown ’13, Taylor Sieben ’15 and Catherine Miller ’16 have planned the panel, which will be catered by local restaurant Cheffies Café.

All panel discussions are free with a Rhodes College ID. Other individuals interested will need to pay a $25 registration fee ($10 for a student). Kasper says that the conference will be an excellent and accessible opportunity to learn more about the different aspects of sustainability and food that exist in the city of Memphis.

“In terms of our community here on campus, I hope students recognize what an important role food choices play in daily living,” says Kasper. “But there’s also a much larger landscape out there past just consumption. Students can get involved in efforts like community gardens and non-profits, which will be represented at the conference.”

Kasper says that the diverse group of organizations, businesses and individuals attending the conference will make for a broad conversation about the future of food in Memphis.

“I think one of the goals of the conference will be to create a synthesized vision about where we are headed as a community. This will be a great opportunity to have a conversation about what we want to come together to do here in Memphis.”

For more information and a CONFERENCE SCHEDULE, visit http://midsouthfarmtotable.wordpress.com/agenda/

(information compiled by Rhodes Student Associate Lucy Kellison ’13)

Tags: Campus Life, Events, Faculty