On Nov 4, the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH) hosted the first event in its series, Food and the Human Experience, at the Red Lion Cafe, Rutgers Student Center. The event, held in collaboration with the Rutgers Center for Digital Filmmaking at Mason Gross School of the Arts and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, attracted over 120 people from across the state.
The Food and the Human Experience endeavors to bring the humanities academic framework to the topic of food education and food justice through a community dialogue and film screening series. A panel of experts included Daniel Hoffman, professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Lisanne Finston, executive director of Elijah’s Promise, and Darrin Anderson, deputy director of New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids. Leading the panel was Robert Scott, professor in Rutgers Department of Anthropology, who orchestrated a lively community discussion on the relationship between food, justice, and human culture. The audience of students, academics and community leaders also engaged in a spirited dialogue on food issues unique to the Garden State.
In New Jersey, many struggle with a lack of access to food that is both affordable and healthy. The Food and the Human Experience series builds upon the core belief that in order to best deal with this complex issue, we must respect and examine our diverse human relationship to food. Panelists and community members shared stories about their family’s cultural relationships to food and how that shaped them as an individual in the world today. Alive in the room that evening was a sense of a community coming together to talk about what makes us human and how we can work together to create change. The discussion was accompanied by a live jazz band.
Visit the Food and the Human Experience website to hear these stories, watch videos from the event, and for more information on the next two parts in this series coming to New Jersey in February and April 2014.