University of Vermont

The Honors College

Honors College Faculty Seminar 2009
Food Systems
August 17-19, 2009

It is with great pleasure that I announce the Honors College's sixth Faculty Seminar, this year titled "Food Systems," to be held August 17-19, 2009. The seminar will be coordinated by Amy Trubek, Assistant Professor of Food and Nutrition Sciences, and Chris Koliba, Associate Professor of Community Development and Applied Economics. It will involve discussion of important texts and ideas, small group work, strategy sessions on teaching and research, forays into the local food community, and even cooking and eating as a group.

The seminar will consider a systems approach to understanding all aspects of food, from its production and transportation to what we think makes a healthy meal. The seminar will also examine the structure of the contemporary food system with a focus on Vermont.

The coordinators of the seminar intend to foster a rich and stimulating dialogue among colleagues and to deepen a university-wide conversation about our contemporary food system. The seminar will allow participants to pursue particular areas of interest including the relation of food to culture, health, transportation, the environment, and public policy.

Some guiding questions for the seminar include:

  • How does systems thinking expand our understanding of food?
  • How are the cultivation, processing, distribution, and consumption of food related?
  • How are food systems illuminated by the variety of approaches in the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences?
  • What is Vermont's food system today? What did it look like 50 years ago? What will it look like in 50 years?
  • Why is experiential learning about all aspects of the food system - from farm to table - so powerful for students?
  • How does University of Vermont's land grant mission intersect with an engagement in food systems research and outreach?

The seminar occurs over three days. The first day will be devoted to exploring systems thinking in the context of food. The second day will consider local food systems, with emphasis on UVM, Burlington's Intervale, and Shelburne Farms. It will include a discussion with food systems experts and policymakers. The third day will bring together emerging themes as they relate to teaching, scholarship, and outreach. The seminar will conclude with dinner hosted by President Fogel at Englesby House. Seminar Daily Schedule

The seminar will benefit from strong disciplinary and interdisciplinary engagement and the representation of diverse viewpoints. Therefore, faculty from all UVM colleges and disciplines are strongly encouraged to apply for the seminar. Those selected as participants will receive an award of $425. They should commit to participating in the events of all three days, to reading seminar materials distributed prior to the beginning of the seminar, and to participating in the final evaluation of the seminar. Participants will receive reading materials in early summer to allow for preparation. There is space in the seminar for up to 20 participants, who will be selected to insure a diverse and collegial group.

Faculty members interested in participating in the seminar should submit a letter of interest and a short C.V (no more than four pages) addressed to Abu Rizvi, Dean of the Honors College, 50 University Heights, by April 6, 2009. They should indicate any experience, special concerns or expertise you would bring to this seminar. The application materials should be sent via email attachment to email to: Applicants will be notified of selection decisions by April 20, 2009. Please feel free to contact me at 6-9100 or email to: if you have any questions.

Abu Rizvi
Dean, Honors College

Last modified September 03 2009 10:08 AM