Joseph McKeen
Center for the Common Good

A Ton of Food: Food Drive and Human Chain

Story posted April 21, 2010

What is a ton of food and how far does a ton go in feeding people around the world? What are the ways in which food security and insecurity impact our communities? How does food sustainability illuminate the relationship between social and environmental problems? These are the questions that drove Peter Fritsche '10, Maina Handmaker '11, Matt Pincus '10 and Madelyn Sullivan '10 to dream up and implement A Ton of Food: Canned Food Drive and Human Chain.

During the last two weeks of April, Bowdoin students are hosting a community-wide food drive for MidCoast Hunger Prevention Program as a way to raise awareness about issues of food security, sustainability, and hunger prevention in our community. An installation in the Union put together by Laura Voss' Atmospheric Chemistry course will manipulate the collected food into a creative and educational message.  Then on May 4th, 1200 cans (a person needs 1200 calories a day to keep from going hungry) will be passed hand to hand to MCHPP without increasing our community's CO2 footprint.

A Ton of Food project is comprised of three components:

Food Waste Audit Installation - April 19-22nd (Thorne Dining Hall)
How much do we waste? Learn how much food the Bowdoin community throws away each day from food we serve ourselves, but don't consume.
Food Drive for MCHPP - April 19-30th (Smith Union)
How much can we contribute? Donate canned goods in Morrell Lounge or through the C-Store. Contribute cash to the Fund for Local, Fresh Produce for MCHPP at the info desk.
Human Food Chain - Tuesday, May 4th, 10-11:30 am (meet on the quad)
Help deliver 1200 cans to MCHPP without increasing our CO2 footprint! Sign up before April 29th at the info desk in Smith Union or to sign up from off campus, email Rain Date: Thursday, May 6th

All members of the Bowdoin and local community are invited to participate.

Bowdoin’s Dining Services set up a system at the C-Store where, during these two weeks, all members of the Bowdoin community can purchase and donate the food items most needed by MCHPP with the swipe of their ID card. They worked with students to develop an installation in Thorne dining hall to educate the campus about the amount of food wasted.  This installation project will culminate at the Locavore Dinner Thursday, April 22. Guests are asked to bring a can of food to donate to the food drive for MCHPP.

Also as part of the project, Carrie Scanga’s Printmaking I course has created hand-printed posters highlighting community food issues that are permanently installed in Thorne and Moulton Dining Halls. Nestor Gil’s Sculpture course has also been a nesting ground for ideas and implementation of the human chain sculpture. Over the course of ensuing conversations from both classes, the students realized the importance of providing MCHPP with fresh and healthier foods as well as longer lasting canned goods. That was the impetus for the option for people to contribute to the new Fund for Local, Fresh Produce, where MCHPP can purchase directly from local farmers to augment the food pantry. Checks for this purpose are being collected at the Smith Union Info Desk, and can be made out to MidCoast Hunger Prevention Program, and will be delivered through the Human Food Chain on May 4th.

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How do we address hunger, food security, and sustainability in our own community?