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Festival to integrate healthy living, sustainability and faith

Megan Dickens in the sustainability intern for residence life and has been planning the food festival. Photo by Allysa Metzner
Megan Dickens in the sustainability intern for residence life and has been planning the food festival. Photo by Allysa Metzner

The fifth annual Mad Farmer’s Food Fest (MFFF) will be held at the Knollcrest East apartments from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6. MFFF is a day-long festival where the community can enjoy locally-grown produce and a variety of dishes from local restaurants.

They can also take part in discussions and demonstrations emphasizing the importance of sustainability, healthy living and faith.

The MFFF derives its name from Wendell Berry’s poem, “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.” The poem exhorts its readers to examine their decisions and the relationship they have to the physical world, much like the purpose of the Mad Farmer’s Food Festival.

“So friend, everyday do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the World,” the poem reads, mirroring the mission of The Mad Farmer’s Food Fest.

The idea for the festival arose from a group of RAs seeking to equip students with a deeper knowledge about issues that involve energy and food.

This year’s festival will kick off at 10 a.m. and feature live music by the Brother’s Bilgen, followed by a devotion from Richard Frances-Coe, who is a seminary intern at Calvin.

From 11:10 a.m. until 11:50 a.m., attendees have the opportunity to choose from two different discussions or a demonstration. This year’s demonstration is the return of making applesauce with Ken Heffner.

“Last year this demonstration was so popular,” explained Megan Dickens, this year’s sustainability intern and project coordinator. ““I thought, why wouldn’t we bring it back?”

From noon until 12:40 p.m., student can join a discussion about animal welfare and ethical eating as well as chat with dumpster divers. Every discussion emphasizes a different topic.

“All the discussions are designed differently, so that even the speakers from the other discussions can participate and learn something new,” said Dickens.

Lunch will begin at 1:45 p.m. and will again feature a variety of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes by MFFF favorites Marie Catrib’s, Brick Road Pizza and FoxTrot Bakeshop.

The MFFF will unwind with a video interview on the benefits of communal eating and the joy of food from Marie Catrib and Egan Farrar, manager of Marie Catrib’s.

“I loved talking with Marie,” Dickens explained. “It is like sitting down and having a discussion with your aunt. She is very animate and very honest.”

Catrib, the owner of Marie Catrib’s, has been participating in MFFF since the beginning and has a passion for advancing community and good food. She and Farrar recognize that families are eating at home less, but are still looking for a place to enjoy great food and fellowship.

“In 2012, when families and friends go out, that is when they communicate with each other. Dining out has become the new family table,” explained Farrar.

With that mindset, both Marie and Farrar want to uphold communal eating through Marie Catrib’s.

“Dining at a table is missing in our society, so we want Marie Catrib’s to be the new table,” said Farrar.

Yet, MFFF is also committed to faith and its relationship to food.

“In our world right now, there is this buzz for green, but I want people to understand it more than a phase or trend. We are serious and responsible and we are called to have dominion over the earth,” Dickens explained.

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