There is something very powerful about a national celebration of food. It is the perfect opportunity to zoom out and re-establish the critical role that food inevitably plays in all of our lives for basic survival, fulfilling a human need that many of us in a developed world country take for granted. It often passes by our subconcious that almost every event that we attend — from our intimate family gatherings to catching up with old friends — are centered around consuming food and drink. We celebrate, mourn, and relax with food.
This year, we celebrated National Food Day on Eastern Washington University’s Campus with our weekly Fresh Market expanded to include a seasonal cooking demo — playing on this years theme of cooking. EWU’s three main dining eateries, Baldy’s, Tawanka Main Street, and The Roost, also featured seasonal and sustainably sourced meals which were available throughout the day.
The pinnacle event of the day took place in a far off corner of campus where few students had ever actually ventured to. This site off Washington and 7th, right behind the Red Barn police station and next door to family housing, is the new EWU Campus Garden location. The EWU Sustainability Project and EWU Dining Services hosted a Garden Party this Food Day in order to create awareness around local/sustainable food, local agriculture opportunities, and community engagement.
Hot apple cider filled the air on this sunny Fall afternoon, with spicy apple cinnamon tones dancing through the crisp air. The cider was purchased directly from Hansen’s Green Bluff Orchard — keeping our local money in the local economy. EWU students, administration, faculty, staff, and community members joined together, feasting on locally sourced chili and cornbread — with the veggies sourced from our campus garden and the ground beef sourced from Cheney’s own Lazy R Ranch, a fourth generation ranch owned and operated by EWU alumni living the practices of holistic grazing techniques.
Throughout this great celebration was the opportunity to get connected with the land planting garlic, an event that has become somewhat of an EWU Sustainability Project tradition. Together in meaningful collaboration — EWU students, administration, faculty, staff, and local community members got their hands dirty planting over 50 cloves of garlic and shallots at the EWU Campus Garden site. This is the third year that garlic has been planted on National Food Day on EWU’s campus. Next year, those 50 cloves will be 50 bulbs of garlic.
What a beautiful and bountiful investment in the future of our local food system we have just achieved! A big shout out to Vansessa Mathisen for volunteering her time and capturing such phenomenal photos! Thank you also to Eagle Entertainment for volunteering their time and bringing us great sound :) Thank you to EWU Dining Services and the EWU Sustainability Project for making this day such an inspiring success, showcasing that Eastern Washington University truly values sustainability, REAL food, and supporting the local economy. Thank you to SWOOP for showing up and making everybody star struck and silly. And thank you to our wonderful student musicians, Samuel Adams and Justin Mitchell — you two created the vibrations that moved our human souls to be present… grateful, excited, and deeply involved in this revolutionary experience.
And on behalf of the EWU Sustainability Project and EWU Dining Services, thank you to all who came out to show your support, essentially voting for the real change that will lead our community into a sustainable, healthy, and fair future.