A Ton of Food: Canned Food Drive and Human Chain

Story posted April 22, 2010

Questioning how far one ton of food would go in feeding people around the world, how food security — and insecurity — impacts our communities, and how food sustainability illuminates the relationship between social and environmental problems, inspired four students to organize a food drive — without the "drive."

Peter Fritsche '10, Maina Handmaker '11, Matt Pincus '10 and Madelyn Sullivan '10 conceived of a human chain — a physical manifestation of the link between each of us and our environment — to deliver goods from a community-wide food drive to Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program (MCHPP).

A Ton of Food: Canned Food Drive and Human Chain

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Food Waste Audit Installation
April 19-22, Thorne Dining Hall
How much do we waste? Learn how much food the Bowdoin community throws away each day from food that is served, but not consumed.

Food Drive for MCHPP
April 19-30, Meet at 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 Smith Union information desk.

Human Food Chain
Tuesday, May 4, 10-11:30 a.m., Quad to MCHPP
Help deliver 1,200 cans to MCHPP without adding to the carbon footprint. Sign up before April 29 at the Smith Union information desk, or e-mail brunswickfoodchain@gmail.com. Rain date: Thursday, May 6.

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

The students say their project, "A Ton of Food: Canned Food Drive and Human Chain," stems from the Joseph Mckeen Center for the Common Good’s Innovation for Change series addressing social welfare, environmental sustainability and innovative problem-solving.

"More than conveying a specific message with this project, we hope to initiate a conversation," says Pincus.

Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good
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Check out the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good Web site, offering continuously updated content regarding community service opportunities, a schedule of events and other happenings.


"We hope that this event gets people thinking and talking about their relationship between the food we eat, the community we live in and the environment we share. How do the choices we make affect those around us? The human food chain is a visual and physical way to represent the ripple effect our choices have."

An installation in Smith Union put together by Laura Voss' Atmospheric Chemistry course will manipulate the collected food into a creative and educational message.

Then, 1,200 cans — symbolizing the 1,200 calories a day needed to keep from going hungry — will be passed, hand-to-hand, to MCHPP May 4, without adding to the community's carbon footprint.

Dining Service has set up a system at the Bowdoin Express convenience store in Smith Union, where 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 part of the project culminates at the Locavore Dinner, Thursday, April 22, where guests are asked to bring a can of food to donate to the food drive.

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 is participating in the planning and implementation of the human chain. Conversations among these two classes led to the new Fund for Local, Fresh Produce, enabling MCHPP to purchase directly from local farmers to augment the food pantry. Checks for this purpose are being collected at the Smith Union information desk, and can be made out to Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program.


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