The Brain Project is based on BrainTechnology, a mindmapping software that gathers and organizes information by linking concepts to one another; one such map of links is called a “brain.” For the 19th Annual International Roundtable – Feeding the World: Globalization, Food, and Agriculture in the 21st Century, the Food Security Brain was used to map out Macalester’s footprint on food security. The Food Security Brain makes prominent the areas the connections and the major food security questions that the Macalester community has taken as its cause. You are now able to see who among your peers, professors and staff members are asking similar food security related questions. A biology aficionado, interested in food production? You can now see what your fellow economics majors have to say about food production or which faculty members have research publications that can help you answer the questions that you are asking; all in the same platform.   

Call to Action

Preface to the 2012 International Roundtable “Call to Action”

The 19th Annual Macalester International Roundtable, on the theme of “Feeding the World: Food, Agriculture and Globalization in the 21st Century,” incorporated a number of new elements.  Building on the forum’s strong tradition of intellectual rigor and debate, this year’s organizing committee (composed of faculty, staff and students) piloted alternative activities to make the event more participatory and to better connect the academic ideas of the forum to real world policy proposals.  The organizing committee carefully chose a theme and speakers that spanned each of the academic divisions: sciences, social sciences, humanities and fine arts.  The committee also introduced the idea of student conceived and organized workshops on subthemes of the umbrella roundtable topic. 

The last major innovation, or experiment, of this year’s roundtable was the student-led “Call to Action.”  A student committee was organized on an ad hoc basis, largely composed of those who had spearheaded workshops and others who volunteered because of their interest in the topic.  The major task of the student committee was to listen intently to the keynote speakers and workshop panelists, as well as the associated deliberations, and begin to think about how these ideas could be transformed into recommendations for concrete action.  These could be recommendations for individual action, or for the college, neighborhood or country to consider. 

The student committee first met about two weeks before the actual roundtable event. After three faculty advisors provided an overview of the idea behind the call to action the students were in the driver’s seat from that point forward.  Faculty members remained available throughout the process to consult when requested.  The student committee drafted an initial problem statement before the event started – and refined it after the first day of keynote speaker presentations.  Then, in a herculean effort, this group created recommendations in a three-hour period after the last workshop on Friday morning.  The “call to action” was then presented in the final session of the Roundtable on Friday afternoon.   The student committee subsequently met with members of the college administration to discuss how elements of the call to action might be implemented.

What follows is the product of this remarkable student effort.  As faculty advisors, we are proud of the way the student committee embraced the challenge, the seriousness of their commitment, and the way they came through on a very tight timeline.  To be clear, the recommendations below do not necessarily represent the views of all students at the college, but rather a committed group who chose to be involved.  That said, we hope that these recommendations continue to spark reflection, conversations, additional study, and some actual changes.

In order to make the planet a better place, the world neither needs ivory tower isolationism nor uncritical, knee-jerk reaction, but thoughtful, informed engagement (or praxis).  This year’s call to action initiates such praxis on the critical theme of feeding the world sustainably and equitably, a topic of critical import, which affects us all near and far, now and in the future.

The faculty advisors to the student-led “call to action” committee
– Bill Moseley, Professor and Chair of Geography
– Paul Overvoorde, Associate Professor of Biology
– Amy Damon, Assistant Professor of Economics

Midwest Campus Compact STEM Consortium Workshop on Community-Engaged Learning and Food Sustainability
May 16, 2013, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
St. Olaf College, Northfield

Are you interested in engaging students around food issues and their connections to poverty, sustainability, labor, culture, and/or rural issues? Want to think about high-quality community-engaged learning and how to turn it into scholarly products as well? Join national leaders Howard Rosing and Jeffrey Howard from DePaul University and Cathy Jordan from the University of Minnesota, as well as Minnesota and Wisconsin Learn and Serve America grantees–faculty, staff, students, and community leaders who have developed food-related partnerships.Details coming soon!

American Studies Conference

25th Anniversary of the Library
Various events are being held in relation to food, including a reading with Brenda Langton, who is the author of The Café Brenda Cookbook,  and The Spoonriver Cookbook.

EcoHouse Open House
1-3:30 p.m., Tuesday, November 13
200 Vernon Street
The EcoHouse gives students a unique opportunity to explore practical green-living lifestyles, to test the effectiveness of new green technologies, and to work with community partners to develop better resources on green renovations and sustainable lifestyles. Residents of the house will talk about skill shares and give tours every hour.

1 p.m., Make granola
2:30 p.m., Make cheese

Food Video Series
12-1 p.m., October 1, 3,  8, 10, 22, 24, 29
Davis Court, Markim Hall
Institute for Global Citizenship

Sustainability Book Club: Stuffed and Starved
How can starving people also be obese? Why does everything have soy in it? How do petrochemicals and biofuels control the price of food? Discuss Raj Patel’s Starved and Stuffed: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System over a light lunch.
noon to 1 p.m, Wednesday, October 10
Harmon Room, Library
RSVP for a light lunch by emailing Jacki Betsworth at

*RATIONS:* a Performance Meditation on Food Memory, Food Access and Food Justice
Theatre and Dance professor Beth Cleary is working with her dance colleague, Wynn Fricke, on a year-long project gathering stories about “food memory, food access, and food justice,” from the local to the global, personal and political, for a spring Theatre and Dance Department production called (currently):  *RATIONS:* a Performance Meditation on Food Memory, Food Access and Food Justice.

This is the blog-link. It was created two weeks ago and students, faculty, and staff in the Macalester community are invited to post. The address is”