Ohio Wesleyan Professor Named U.S. Delegate to ‘We Feed the Planet’ Event

Christopher L. Fink, Ph.D., to Travel to Italy for Four-Day Conference on the Future of Food, Farming

Christopher L. Fink, Ph.D.

Christopher L. Fink, Ph.D.

DELAWARE, Ohio – Thousands of people will gather in October in Milan, Italy, for “Terra Madre Giovani” (We Feed the Planet), an international effort “to create and redefine ideas and models” for growing food and feeding the world. The four-day event is being held in association with Expo 2015, also known as the World’s Fair.

Among the “We Feed the Planet” participants will be Christopher L. Fink, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Health and Human Kinetics at Ohio Wesleyan University, and Tadd Petersen, manager of farm and food for Seminary Hill Farm, a part of Methodist Theological Seminary in Ohio. Fewer than 20 people nationwide were selected as U.S. delegates to the conference.

“As a delegate,” Fink said, “I hope to gain more insight into how I can encourage the young people with whom I work every day to follow their passion for a sustainable, just path to providing healthful, clean, fair food to a growing populace in the face of increasing wealth disparities, food access issues, and concomitant (associated) health concerns.”

Fink, a member of Ohio Wesleyan’s faculty since 2007, also serves as co-chair of The Partnership for a Healthy Delaware County and as a member of the Delaware County Hunger Alliance.

“We Feed the Planet” is organized by the international Slow Food and Slow Food Youth Network nonprofit organizations. Keynote speakers will include Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food movement, and respected food activists Alice Waters, Tristram Stuart, and Raj Patel. Founded in 1986, Slow Food “envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it, and good for the planet.”

Fink has been associated with Slow Food since 2010 as both a member and in research work with colleagues in the United States and Italy. He has twice taken groups of Ohio Wesleyan students to Italy to assist in his research as well.

In Italy, Fink has participated in the “Granai della Memoria” (Granaries of Memory) project, which aims to collect traditional, oral food knowledge before it is lost to the passing of generations. The project is in collaboration with the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy. In addition, he is working on a project involving short food-supply chains and small-scale producers in the United States and in Italy, primarily exploring the benefits of this system on the quality of life for both producers and consumers. This project is in collaboration with the Umbra Institute’s Food and Sustainability Studies program in Perugia, Italy.

Locally, Fink is working with fellow “We Feed the Planet” delegate Tadd Petersen to develop a collaborative food studies program. Fink also directs a Delaware food-and-nutrition program called “Cooking Matters,” which operates in collaboration with Columbus-based Local Matters and Washington, D.C.-based Share Our Strength.

“My students work with low-income local residents to create a dialogue about food and cooking, with the goal of helping participants prepare delicious, healthy, budget-friendly recipes to feed their family whole-food, nutrient-dense meals,” Fink said of the “Cooking Matters” program.

Learn more about the upcoming “We Feed the Planet” conference at www.wefeedtheplanet.com/en and more about Fink and the OWU Department of Health and Human Kinetics at hhk.owu.edu.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers 86 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world experience. OWU’s 1,750 students represent 46 U.S. states and territories and 43 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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