Food and faith intersect at club collaboration

On Oct. 17, the Food Justice Club and Guilford Christian Ministry collaborated for a night of “Food and Faith.” The collaboration came together through the work of the leaders of the clubs, Mallory Cerkleski and Logan Shortt.

“This idea mostly came from the class that I took during the three-week called ‘Food & Faith,’ taught by Bronwyn Tucker and Wess Daniels,” Cerklesi said. “Being a Sustainable Food Systems major, I had interacted with some faith organizations doing food work, but never to the extent that we discussed and experienced this fall.”

The event started in the afternoon with a trip to the Guilford farm to do some harvesting for the meal that would be shared together. Collectively, the group gathered greens to be added to a salad that was completely sourced from the farm.

“The event was excellent,” Shortt remarked. “Everyone took ownership of the meal prep and the discussion providing for the sharing of life in a unique way that college students often do not experience.”

Following the food prep, the students shared a meal with conversation surrounding food and faith. Broken up into small groups, the participants were able to have intimate conversations regarding their own relationship to food and faith.

“’(When asked), what would your dream event look like?’ I explained that I would love to do everything: harvest, cook, eat and talk about God, but I didn’t think it would be possible,” said Cerkleski. “(I was hoping) to shed light on the intersection of food and faith, and to also make connections with people who you might not talk to in your everyday life.”

“Although I was aware of this before the event, the idea of how similar all humans are was definitely reinforced,” Cerkleski commented. “My table was me and three first-year football players that I really thought I would have nothing in common with, but as we talked about our upbringings and beliefs, many connections were made clear.

I think I tend to think about myself in a box, I am this way or I hang out with these people, but college is such an important place to interact with those you might not imagine yourself being similar to, and to make connections beyond those arbitrary boxes we put ourselves in which this event reminded me of.”

“I was deeply enlightened about the religious significance of food in both Quaker and Jewish tradition,” Shortt said. “Several folks offered insights about their experiences with food and faith that illuminated the ever present reality of the interaction between the divine and the material world.”

The event lasted over two hours, and there were people staying past the advertised time to continue the conversations they had struck up.

“GCM certainly hopes to do similar Food and Faith events with the Food Justice club in the future,” Shortt said. “Hopefully, we will grow and expand our understanding of the intersection of the two worlds over many meals together.”


Editor’s note: This story originally was published in Volume 106, Issue 4 of The Guilfordian on Nov. 1 2019.