Saturday, February 13, 2016


Which poets are writing about food, hunger, GMOs, and such in America?

Obesity and Health Care

I realize that as many of my students pursuing nursing want to write arguments about obesity, the fat tax, etc. and it is making me cringe. It is not because I am obese and any of the weightist issues, but the same argument is coming down the line--obese people have themselves to blame. Somehow we as a culture only want to blame people for being obese instead of the overall systemic problem which allows fast-food and other unhealthy foods to be more affordable than healthy foods. Also, recess is a thing of the past, when we know play is an important part of learning. Consider, too, eating disorders, mental health, and depression--how food plays into the need for comfort. Finally, the most important thing to think about--POVERTY!

Yes, again, search for obesity health care controversy and there are no solutions that address these real issues.

Out of forty students this semester, even given topics to choose from, five chose obesity as their controversial topic. That is an eighth of the two classes.

I also feel that the line between judgement and actually caring for patients is often missing. There is judgement-diagnosis, then telling the patient she or he is fat. I have my own stories about visits to the doctor's office.

There is no investigation or discussion to the real issues.

Can we agree: No one would ever choose to be fat. Really. I even found articles about the "tolerance of obesity." Really?! How about "body shaming?"

I realized I need to move away from my gut-reaction (sorry for the pun) and bring up the issues not discussed--including checking judgement at the door.

I am going to do an overhaul of my class. I am switching to the theme of obesity--but throwing aside the judgmental attitudes which do not provide solutions to a real-world, HICEP approach that begins with those who will be working with others.

By the way, I am making efforts to lose weight, not only to stay alive longer for my boys, but as an activist rejection of the food I get drawn to tied to big money corporations.

Community Gardeners of Topeka, Kansas

Organic and more

New Netflix series about making your own food:

Indigenous resistance:

Hunger in America

This is an amazing interactive presentation where one scrolls to read the stories:

Friday, February 12, 2016

EN101 Freshman Composition Washburn University HICEP Class FOOD IN AMERICA

HICEP Definition:  High Impact Community Engagement Practices (HICEPs) are any student centered, interactive, experiential educational endeavors, either curricular or co-curricular, that are clearly community focused and action based. The purpose is to move from an observer of the conditions that exist in our society to intellectual awareness and informed action.

In the Fall of 2016, Washburn University will provide a different kind of Freshman Composition course. The focus on the class will still be developing one's writing for the college level, but the theme will be FOOD IN AMERICA! Dennis Etzel, Jr. will be facilitating the course.

August: Exploring the overall theme of food with personal writing.

September: Hunger in America: This topic will begin with Harvesters' Breakfast Challenge, then lead to volunteering in the warehouse and at a drop-off point.

October: Self-Sustainability: Urban Homesteaders of Topeka will visit our class as we examine how returning to whole, fresh, local foods can solve many of the issues America faces today. Fast-food restaurants, cheap food, and the quality of water will also be explored. We will also plan for and set in motion a community garden.

November: GMOs, Big Corporations, and the Farmer: We will examine what GMOs mean to us, farming problems due to business, and how a return to indigenous foods are a further resistance again post-colonialism. Other visitors are planned to speak.

December: Reflection and a Plan for Action for After the Course

Saturday, February 6, 2016

In March

coming up in May