Food Awareness Month kicks off to get students thinking differently about what they eat

Humans think about it constantly, always want more of it and can name our favorite kinds off the top of their heads. Some students may think they know everything about food, but SF State’s Food Awareness Month makes the subject a bit more appetizing.

Beginning Oct. 6, Food Month will present every Monday of October with lunch, workshops, guest speakers, educational videos and presentations in room 306 of the Health and Social Sciences Building. A variety of food experts such as authors, dietitians and naturopathic physicians will educate people on mass produced food, popular diets, honest food and medicinally-used food.

“We have such an amazing group of people collaborating on this from fellow students to guest speakers to local, organic restaurants,” said Hana Miller, SF State senior and Food Awareness Month administrator. “I think that the food we are providing is the most important aspect. We all love and live for amazing food!”

The main attraction and focus of the month dedicated to food is Food Week, which occurs Oct. 20-24. Each day during this week begins with films such as “Food Inc.” and “Preserving with Friends.” Guest speakers will include Carla Cashin, naturopathic doctor at the East Bay Naturopathic Clinic; Michelle Lau, OMD, traditional Chinese medical practitioner; and former President of Council of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Associations, as well as many others.

“It’s such an inviting opportunity and I think everyone will really benefit from attending,” said Samantha Bamford, graduating psychology major with a minor in sociology and holistic health.

“The most important aspect of food awareness to me is learning about GMOs (genetically modified organisms), pesticides and soil care,” Bamford added. “Some of the information we’re providing is mind-blowing and I really think it will get people thinking differently.”

Jeanette Alvarez, senior intern for The Institute for Holistic Health Studies at SF State explained how The Institute for Holistic Health Studies will work with Real Food Challenge and the vendors in the Cesar Chavez Student Center. Real Food Challenge is focused on redistributing food budgets from mass-produced and junk foods to local and community-based food sources.

“We will give (the vendors) a letter grade based on their food options, sustainable food, sustainable packaging,” Alvarez said. “We will also hold workshops with them that will help them be more sustainable businesses as a whole. We will also hold other workshops for them and the more workshops they attend the more points will be added toward their food grade.”

Modern food supplies are primarily based on industrial farming and tons of pesticide usage, and Food Awareness Month promotes the opposite: locally grown produce, community produced good, and sustainable packaging. It pushes education on all that goes into society’s chosen dietary habits.

“Food is common ground,” Miller said. “Everyone has their own relationship with food and their own experiences. It’s something we can all share.”