Written by Justin Much
A fundamental need is the focal point of the week at Western Oregon University.
WOU announced that it is hosting “Food Week” from Monday through Friday, Oct 22-26. The purpose of the week is to draw attention to and raise awareness of food-related issues, especially regarding scarcity and nutrition. Food scarcity is not a conceptual phenomenon relegated to impoverished areas overseas or scattered downtrodden urban locales within the United States. Food issues hit home in local communities and neighborhoods. Surveys conducted at WOU, for example, reveal food scarcity issues right on campus.
“(This) is a chance to raise consciousness about our bodies, our environment and our community,” said Jackson Stalley, a research guide at WOU’s Hamersley Library and Food Week coordinator.
“Unhealthy diets and food insecurity are not just issues that affect other’s communities,” Stalley added. “A recent student-sponsored survey found one-in-two students self-reported food insecurity or nutritional concerns. A similar campus staff union survey found almost one-in-three classified staff members reported food insecurity issues.”
Stalley stressed that this week’s events, along with the school’s nascent food pantry and campus garden are all aimed at addressing nutrition and food accessibility issues.
Food Week organizers will be holding drives to boost the WOU campus food pantry among a list of other scheduled events through the week. Collectively these events drive at the lesson of nutrition’s role in overall health and well-being.
“The foods we enjoy should promote good health; eating a healthy diet and exercising can prevent many preventable illnesses like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity heart disease and cancer,” said Karen Nelles, WOU’s director of campus dining. “A couple tips for a healthy diet include eating at least five fruits and vegetables a day, watch portion sizes as use variety and moderation as a guide for food selection.”