December 5, 2012 – On World Food Day 2012, Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) was excited to co-host the second event in the Germinating Conversations series on Food, Faith, Eating, and the City. The series is a partnership between CMU, the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Manitoba Peace Program, and A Rocha Prairie Canada.
The October 16 event presented perspectives from five different urban dwellers, reflecting on their faith and how that impacts their food choices. They all answered the question: As an eater, what do you wish food growers understood about how you buy and eat food?
“We wanted to include diverse perspectives – from people who subscribe to the 100 Mile Diet to people who are fast food regulars,” said Kenton Lobe. “The idea was to bring these people together with food growers and other consumers and to create an environment for listening and learning.”
Deanna Zantingh, a CMU student, was one of the presenters. “As a rural farm girl turned urban eater, I have come to appreciate both sides of this complex conversation. My presentation was based on my ‘Alice in Wonderland’ experience of existing in two very different worlds that don’t always understand each other. Going in, my hope was to function as a bridge builder and lay a foundation for truthful engagement that incorporated all stakeholders – eaters and growers – without backing away from tough issues. I walked away very encouraged.”
Another presenter, DeLayne Toews, works at CMU Farms and Winnipeg Harvest. He shared his journey to incorporate the principles of Micah 6:8 – “…to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” – in all areas of his life, including how he eats. “I’ve come to see that the food I eat is a way that I can live these passages out,” he explained. “For me, food has become one of those places where I can grasp how faith interacts concretely in my everyday life. I try to beenvironmentally and socially responsible in my choices, buying locally and directly whenever possible, and looking for products that are organic and fair trade. That said, there is so much to learn from nearly every place on the spectrum. God is at work at many places in the food system.”
“It was so encouraging to see the dialogue that came out of this event,” Lobe continued. “After the presentations were over, I watched as one of the Province’s largest conventional farmers and an organic 100-mile eater got into a really friendly conversation. It was wonderful to see.”
The event’s organizing partners are working to make the presentations available online and are considering future events. Visit www.mccmanitoba.ca for details.
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as two graduate degree programs. CMU has over 1,600 students, including Menno Simons College and Outtatown students, and is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).
Article written by Lindsay Wright for CMU.