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Garden House features food-smart films

September 16, 2011

Justin Frye/The Courier - Monmouth College President Mauri Ditzler applauds after viewing the film, “Ingredients.” The Educational Garden House has hosted viewings of several documentaries in order to spread awareness about environmental issues concerning the food industry.

The students living in the Educational Garden House started a new project. These students feel that living in their garden house does not give a big enough statement about the environment, especially since spreading awareness has become a new mission of theirs. Each week, the garden house will show a new video in their film series entitled, “Eat with Your Mind,” which will help students understand concepts on sustainability and healthy eating.

The films will play every Thursday night during the month of September. Each week, the garden house students will invite a guest speaker to lead a discussion following the film. Previously, Professor Craig Watson orchestrated a discussion on the film “Food Inc.” while President Mauri Ditzler led a discussion on “Ingredients.”

By showing the last film, the garden house students hoped to convey a message on small scale farming and buying food from local growers. From that film, participants discussed a new way of eating.

“It gave us a new way to view how we eat and where our food comes from,” said sophomore Kaitlyn Pfau.

Pfau is a resident of the garden house who explained that the film series is also helping the students living in the house understand the importance of sustainability.

“Everyone in the house got refocused on what we were eating,” Pfau said. “We changed from being financially focused to organically focused.”

After watching the films, the students in the garden house are working more on staying away from processed foods and applying the lessons from the video into their gardening.

Ditzler, who has been a constant supporter of the Educational Garden, spoke on what is in the food people eat. Having been raised on a farm his whole life, Ditzler felt a very personal connection with the messages students in the garden house were trying to relay.

“We don’t think about how we are tied to nature if we just go to County Market and buy green beans,” said Ditzler.

The film explains that food bought at grocery stores has been shipped from long-distances making consumers unaware of where the food they buy is coming from. Because of that, nutritional value has dropped, making the estimated lifespan of children shorter than their own parents. Food production affects everyone in the world, a concept that students living in the garden house are exploring.

“One of the reasons we go to a liberal arts college is so we can explore questions,” said Ditzler. “What is more fundamental than feeding the world? Of all the issues getting discussed at Monmouth College, this is probably the most important one.”

Pfau, like the rest of the students living in the garden house, has taken many steps to help the not only herself but the rest of the environment. Monmouth College students are encouraged to learn more about the efforts of the garden house by attending the weekly films. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the films starting promptly at 7 p.m. and discussion ending at 10 p.m. Next week, Professor Brad Sturgeon will be leading the discussion on the film “Fresh.”

Stevie Croisant
Staff Writer

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