All photos by Rebecca Fisher ’17.
This past Friday, the student-run ETHOS Food Initiative hosted Haverford’s fourth annual Food Day on Founder’s Green. The event featured representatives from 13 local food-oriented businesses, as well as on-campus groups.
ETHOS, which stands for “ethical, transparent, homegrown, organic, and sustainable”, originated in the spring of 2013 after a group of Haverford students attended a regional Real Food Challenge training weekend. The Real Food Challenge encourages colleges to adjust their food budgets away from industrial farming and towards more sustainable and locally grown sources.
“We liked their dining center auditing system and respected their knowledge and activism skills,” said Adriana Cvitkovic ’16, an ETHOS member who helped organize this year’s Food Day. “After attending the Real Food Challenge National Summit, we decided to formally convene a food justice group at Haverford.”
Last year’s Food Day included food from on-campus groups and local businesses, as well as a discussion and films on food justice. This year, however, members of ETHOS wanted to expand the event to incorporate more perspectives than just that of consumers.
“We decided we wanted to represent more of the food system, so we invited farm workers, members of food non-profits, and other activists to come and share their knowledge,” said Cvitkovic.
Amidst upbeat music and a pleasant outdoor ambiance, students stopped by to partake in taste testing and to converse with guests. Representatives from Weavers Way Community Programs, a non-profit cooperative food market stationed in northwest Philly, handed out samples of juice made from its own produce. Yellow Springs Farm founder Catherine Renzi offered four types of fresh and aged Artisanal Goat Cheeses. Maysie’s Farm Conservation Center gave out its various locally grown vegetables.
“I was totally blown away by the carrots I tried,” said Rebecca Fisher ’17. “I’ve never had something so flavorful and delicious, all in something as simple as a carrot.”
In addition to sharing their food and knowledge, some attendees called on students to support current ethical food campaigns. Representatives from GMO Free PA, a grassroots organization whose mission is to educate the public about the risks of genetically modified foods, advertised the October 6 GMO Labeling Meeting to take place at the Capitol Building. At the meeting, scientists will present to the House of Representatives as they consider whether or not to pass GMO labeling legislation in Pennsylvania.
“GMOs are banned or labeled in 64 other countries, but the US has no such regulations,” said GMO Free PA co-director Karen Stark. “The meeting is open to the public, and you guys have the power to take action.”
Although the Food Day is the only event that ETHOS organizes, the campaign does many other actions based on educating the school about food justice, as well as working with the DC staff.
An audit conducted last year by ETHOS and the Dining Center discovered that 9% of the food served by the DC falls under what ETHOS defines as “real food”. This includes food that is equally traded, equal trade, locally grown, organic and sustainable.
“Anthony Condo has met with us many times, and the DC is planning on having more local foods dinners this year,” said Cvitkovic. “This semester we are beginning the research phase of the campaign in which ETHOS will work with the DC to find alternatives to many of the foods we currently purchase.”
“Food justice means having a food system in which workers from farmers to food preparers are treated fairly, where sustainable agriculture is practiced, and where the health of the consumer is taken into consideration and is primary in the growing and preparation of the food,” said Laura Eckstein ’16,“Everything is interconnected—I could be eating something that is the product of injustice.”