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Events celebrate 'Much Ado About Food' at West campus

August 26, 2010

The inaugural year of the ThinK (Thursdays in Kiva) series at Arizona State University’s West campus features speakers and films addressing various aspects of the topic “Much Ado About Food.” Events are free and open to the public (visitor parking on campus costs $2 per hour) and are held in the Kiva Lecture Hall, in the Sands Classroom Building at 4701 W. Thunderbird Road in Phoenix.

“Much Ado About Food” ties in with academic programming on campus. Over the summer all incoming West campus freshmen read Michael Pollan’s book “In Defense of Food” and participated in discussions with faculty during welcome week activities.

“The ThinK series promises to engage the campus community in thought and discussion about the important topic of food, to which multiple disciplines – science, public policy, economics, psychology, religion, culture – bring significant insights,” said Elizabeth Langland, dean of ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, the core college on the West campus. “We invite members of the community at large to join us in this stimulating dialogue on an issue that affects all of us.”

The schedule of events through September is:

Aug. 26, 5 p.m. – Live Chef Presentation: Start Cookin’
Join chef Jerome Fressinier from Engrained Café as he demonstrates how to make simple, healthy meals using fresh, sustainable foods available at ASU. Attendees will be able to take home recipes from the meals demonstrated during the event.

Sept. 2, 6 p.m. – Film Presentation: “Super Size Me”
Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock embarks on a journey to find out if fast food is making Americans fat. He treks across the country interviewing a host of experts and regular folks while downing nothing but fast food for a month, to try and find out why 37 percent of Americans are overweight.

Sept. 9, 6 p.m. – Film Presentation: “Fresh”
“Fresh” celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet. Among others, “Fresh” features urban farmer and activist Will Allen, sustainable farmer and entrepreneur Joel Salatin and supermarket owner David Ball.

Sept. 16, 6 p.m. – Film Presentation: “Stand and Deliver”
“Stand and Deliver” is the story of Jaime Escalante, a math teacher at East Los Angeles’ Garfield High School, who refuses to write off his inner-city students as losers. Escalante pushes and inspires 18 students who were struggling with math to become math whizzes. New College Professor Erika Camacho, who took math at Garfield High with Escalante, is a special guest for the screening and will discuss what it was like to be a student of Escalante.

Sept. 23, 6 p.m. – Lecture: Food Performance and Everyday Life
Why should we examine aspects of everyday life through the lens of performance? Within the field of Performance Studies, food has become a particularly productive site for wrestling over such questions. Kelly Rafferty, an assistant professor in New College, will lead this provocative discussion.

Sept. 30, 6 p.m. – Lecture by best-selling author Gene Baur
Baur is president of Farm Sanctuary, the first animal rescue organization dedicated to farmed animals. He will discuss “Farm Sanctuary: Changing hearts and minds about animals and food.” Farm Sanctuary shelters in Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Orland, Calif., provide lifelong care for hundreds of rescued animals and educate visitors about the realities of factory farming.

Additional ThinK series events will be held throughout the remainder of the fall semester on ASU’s West campus. For more information, visit