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White Stakes Planted to Illustrate Food Insecurity in Clinton County

Visual Representation of Local Hunger Staged to Promote Food Symposium

March 15, 2012

Communication arts professor Corey Cockerill and WC junior Bryan Davis insert the last of the 13,000 garden stakes, each of which represents a meal served at the local Sugartree Ministries' Your Father's Kitchen since Jan. 1.

Communication arts professor Corey Cockerill and WC junior Bryan Davis insert the last of the 13,000 garden stakes, each of which represents a meal served at the local Sugartree Ministries' Your Father's Kitchen since Jan. 1.

The word “hunger” conjures images of impoverished children in Africa’s Sudan or Rwanda, but persons in Clinton County are too often going to bed with empty stomachs.

In conjunction with Wilmington College’s third annual Food Symposium March 20, a contingent of 32 students, faculty and staff placed 13,000 white garden stakes in the campus mall Thursday afternoon.

Each represents a meal served at Sugartree Ministries’ Your Father’s Kitchen since Jan. 1.

Corey Cockerill, assistant professor of communication arts and a member of the Food Symposium Committee, described the 13,000 meals and those served at other local, free meal sites as the county’s “food insecurity.”

“We don’t think of hunger as an issue we face here in Wilmington and Clinton County — but it is,” she said.

Rob Jaehnig, agribusiness development specialist with the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT), which has a regional office at the College, echoed those sentiments.

“Here we are in the breadbasket of the United States and we have food insecurity,” he said. Jaehnig also is a member of the symposium committee and was acting inserting the garden stakes, which were donated by Pioneer Hybrids.

The display of 13,000 stakes depicting CIFT’s wheat berry organizational logo will remain on the mall through Tuesday’s Food Symposium.

Consumer activist, nutritionist and award-winning author Marion Nestle will be speaking on the “hunger-obesity paradox” as keynote speaker at the third annual event. She will speak from 4 to 5 p.m. in Heiland Theatre.

The daylong symposium also will feature a pair of films and a student chef cook-off, all of which are free of charge.

Nestle is the author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (2002) and Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety (2003), both from University of California Press. She explores issues like access to food and nutrition, and the effects of food production on food safety.

The schedule for the day includes:

Displays in Pyle Student Center, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; the film Killer at Large: Why Obesity Is America’s Greatest Threat (189 minutes), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; the film Faces of Hunger in America: A Nationwide Initiative to Visually Portray Hunger in the United States (55 minutes), 1 to 2 p.m. Both films will be shown in Heiland Theatre.

Also, “The Student Chef Cookoff” competition with opportunities for taste-testing will run from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Top of Pyle Center; Marion Nestle’s keynote address on hunger and obesity, from 4 to 5 p.m., in Heiland Theatre; a book-signing by Nestle in Kelly Center from 5 to 5:30 p.m.