The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

Kutztown GROW Dinner: Eating to fight hunger, discuss global food system


By Katie Isamoyer, For Journal Register News Service

Monday, October 15, 2012

Kutztown residents and Kutztown University students ate dinner to fight hunger.
Offered free to KU students and community members, the Oxfam America GROW Dinner on Oct. 9 at the Independent Space in Kutztown was more than eating. Diners joined in conversation about the global food system.
Oxfam, in an effort to raise awareness regarding hunger held a discussion and dinner in Kutztown that included women farmers, one from Pennsylvania and one from Nigeria.
“Our goal is to hold a 1,000 dinner for World Food Day,” said Sarah Kalloch, Senior Advisor at Oxfam. “We talk to communities about who grows their food and how they can contribute to the fight against world hunger.”
When asked how people would react to dinners like this, Kalloch responded that, “Oxfam had found people live to get together and talk about food. We started these dinners last year and we expect twice as many people to hold them this year.”
The dinner began at 6:30 p.m. at the Independent Space on 19 E. Main St. in Kutztown on Oct. 9.
“Tonight, we served food from a local caterer, Wholesome Food Catering, which followed the 5 Oxfam Grow Method Principles: buy local and seasonal, waste less food, cook smart, support small scale farmers worldwide, and eat less meat,” said Sarah Kalloch. “So we had all vegetarian food, much of it locally sourced and in season, with salads that did not require energy to cook, fair trade chocolate, and take away containers so no food was wasted.”
Kim June a Kutztown University Student and Oxfam Change Leader started the discussion while Kalloch moderated. Congressman Charles Dent then spoke, followed by female farmer of Pocono Pennsylvania, Heidi Secord and female Nigerian farmer Susan Goodwin. After the speakers a discussion was held.
One reason Heidi Secord joined the panel is because she wanted to get the word out about who she is and what she does. She also had an interest in Susan Goodwin as Secord worked in the Peace Core.
On the issue of sustainability, Secord said, “Well, I always go back to the saying, ‘Think global, act local.’ Once we can sustain at a local level, we can expand.”
Secord thinks people can help solve world hunger by “acting at a local level, having events like this, and getting info to the people who want it.”
Maggie Robertson of the PA Agricultural Network also attended the event.
“I think goals of dinners like this are to connect people to their food,” said Robertson who is Regional Representative for western PA and part of the steering committee. “We all eat and there is an abundance of stuff we call food but there are people who often in our neighborhoods go hungry. The idea of food access around the world, when we think of hunger we think of nations in famine but often in our neighborhoods people don’t have enough.”
Oxfam America is an international relief and development organization that creates lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice. Together with individuals and local groups in more than 90 countries, Oxfam saves lives, helps people overcome poverty, and fights for social justice. They are one of the 17 affiliates in the international confederation Oxfam.
Their vision is a just world without poverty.
Their mission is “to create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice,” according to their website www.oxfamamerica.org.
Oxfam’s GROW campaign aims to build a better food system: one that sustainably feeds a growing population and empowers poor people to earn a living, feed their families, and thrive.
For more information, visit www.oxfamamerica.org.