Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Menu for the Future Discussion Course

Menu for the Future
Discussion Course

The act of putting into your mouth what the Earth has grown is perhaps your most direct interaction with the Earth. – Frances Moore Lappe

I recently took part in a fascinating course offered by the Earth Institute of West Michigan titled Menu for the Future. I met so many delightful people, had so much fun and learned so much about food that I want to share my experience with other West Michigan Food Coop members.

Our informal, small group (strangers to each other in the beginning) met for an hour and a half each week for 6 weeks to discuss readings from the course book. The course book is composed of articles, book excerpts and short essays organized in chapters around different food themes. The course is intended to promote dialogue, not consensus and allows each participant to bring their own unique perspectives, values and attitudes to the group.

Some of the topics reviewed and debated include: organic vs. local, pesticide protection, industrial agriculture, the value of diversity, additives in your kitchen, slow eating, sustainable food systems and making informed food choices. Because the atmosphere in our group was one of support, respect and trust, we were able to engage in lively discussions which allowed us to evaluate our personal lifestyle choices and the actions we wished continue or perhaps change. We laughed together often as our thoughts were expanded and we developed a sense of community with each other. We have decided to move on together as a group to discuss the Voluntary Simplicity course this fall.

Both of these courses were developed by Northwest Earth Institute (NWEI) out of Portland, OR. The local sister institute, Earth Institute of West Michigan (EIWM), and NWEI offer these courses to inspire people to examine our relationship and responsibility for Earth. I found my initial experience so rewarding. I am choosing to take action by co-ordinating the next West Michigan Co-op’s Menu for the Future course this fall for those interested in exploring this tantalizing topic!

Please talk to me at the next coop pick-up date to sign-up for the course or to ask questions.

If you miss me there please email me at

We would like to start one or more groups in September. For further information please log on to

Amy Heilman
Member – West Michigan Co-op

No comments: