Food and Nutrition - Student Resources
- American Dietetic Association
- Operation Frontline at Inter-Faith Food Shuttle
- Eat Smart Move More NC
- Organic Garden
- Meals on Wheels
The Meredith Organic Community Garden (also known as “Three Sisters Garden”) was started by the Foods and Nutrition program in the spring 2005. The purpose of the garden is to provide the Meredith community with an opportunity to explore and grow fresh healthy food. The garden is a demonstration of the concepts and methods utilized in producing plants and food in an environmentally sound and ecologically sustainable manner. The garden will be used for education, research and service projects. The Meredith Organic garden is about people reconnecting to the natural environment and becoming familiar with the local ecosystem. It’s about gaining an appreciation for the process and place from which our food comes. It’s about discovering local, fresh, good tasting food. It’s about community, making connections, and shared experiences. Students are welcome to participate in the garden through volunteering, service and research.
Professor Plants New Project at Meredith
By Betsy Rhame, ’01
Sabbaticals are an important part of the academic life of a faculty member. According to Liz Wolfinger, an associate professor of biology and the former director of faculty development, a sabbatical is a serious project that can involve scholarship, creativity or curriculum development.
“[It’s] a pretty serious project,” Wolfinger said.
During a sabbatical, a professor will commit to a research project of his or her choice. To do this, he or she won’t teach classes that semester and or be responsible for any committee work.
“They are given a semester’s relief from…all Meredith duties,” Wolfinger said.
In the fall of 2004 when Bill Landis, associate professor of human environmental sciences, took his sabbatical he spent part of his time as a student again. He took Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture at Central Carolina Community College. When he wasn’t in class he was conducting research on organic foods and their growers in the Triangle area. He said he took a “whole system approach” and studied the sustainability and diversity of plants.
As a result of all of his research, Landis believes that the best approach to farming is an organic one. In organic farming pests and weeds can be controlled with minimal impact to the environment, crops are rotated year after year and manure is used to fertilize.
In his faculty symposium in January he encouraged everyone to buy organic or grow your own fruits and vegetables. “Let’s face it. You get better, fresher produce,” he said. “We’ve forgotten how wonderful it is.”
As the final piece of his sabbatical project, Landis is planning a garden for Meredith to be located near the greenhouse. He sees it as an educational resource lab for students and an opportunity for undergraduate research projects, and would encourage members of the Meredith community to adopt a plot to grow their own plants. In the long term, Landis hopes the garden will be a way to promote community outreach by providing fresh produce to local hunger agencies and serve as a resource center for education and research on organic foods.
“The garden could spring forth many things on campus,” Landis said.
Digging began early in 2005.
American Dietetic Association
Service Learning Opportunity: Meals on Wheels
Since January 2000, Meredith College nutrition students have on a weekly basis been delivering Meals on Wheels in Wake County. This partnership between college and community has provided the Meals on Wheels program with able and willing volunteers and the meal recipients with nutritious food and a visit. Representative of most routes, the Meredith route includes 9-16 meals that can be delivered in an hour or less. For many, this is the only hot meal the recipient will get all day and often the only human contact. At some of the addresses people are waiting eagerly; at other stops, the volunteer must wait patiently because the people within are so frail that it takes them a while to get to the door. When the lunch is delivered, a bond is formed between the student and the recipient--rewarding and humbling, a gift to both. Click here to learn more about Wake County Meals on Wheels.
Nutrition Program Has Commitment to Meals on Wheels
By Betsy Rhame, ’01
A decade ago, Meredith College took a Meals on Wheels route on a street in downtown Raleigh. Every week since, a pair of volunteers has driven to each of the houses on the route five days per week to deliver lunch to the residents inside and engage in warm conversation for a few minutes.
An estimated 200 Meredith students have taken part in this program in the past 10 years, delivering about 5,000 meals. Since the beginning, the driving force behind these numbers has been Associate Professor of Human Environmental Sciences Susan Fisher, who is, most days, one of the deliverers.
She doesn’t require participation as part of her undergraduate or graduate courses, but will suggest to students that they accompany her if they need to talk about a project, paper or grade.
“Sometimes my better office hours were spent in a car with a student,” Fisher explained.
By interacting with her students outside the classroom, she has witnessed how this service opportunity affects them.
“Some students go on to deliver their own route,” Fisher said. “It really becomes meaningful to them. You plant a seed and you never know where it goes.”
The service hours Fisher and her students put in with Meals on Wheels relates directly to what Fisher is teaching her students in the classroom. Each meal satisfies one-third of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for each recipient.
“Nutrition is a small piece of a greater pie,” Fisher said.
The nutritional portion of the Meals on Wheels program is something to which Sheri Connor, a senior foods and nutrition major and the president of the Nutrition Club, pays close attention.
“I enjoy the fact that I can help these individuals and provide them with a meal that meets one-third the [Required Daily Allowance],” Connor said. “For some, this is their only meal of the day and it is important that it be nutritious for their overall health.”
Rachel Chilcot, ’05, a graduate student in Meredith’s nutrition program, has seen the connection between her course work and her Meals on Wheels volunteer work.
“My scholarly work is in the field of nutrition and delivering Meals on Wheels has aided me in learning about non-profit organizations, nutrition programs as opposed to feeding programs and the perils of creating a nutritious menu that meets federal regulations while conforming to a strict budget,” she said.
This connection that Connor, Chilcot and other students have made, Fisher said, is what the combination of service and nutrition is about. She wants her students to always seek to answer the question, “How can we make sure nutrition is not lost?”
To volunteer for Meals on Wheels with Meredith, contact Susan Fisher at (919) 760-8079 or email@example.com. For more information on the local Meals on Wheels organization, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (919) 833-1749.
Operation Frontline at the Inter-faith Food Shuttle
Meredith Food and Nutrition students deliver 4-6 week class sessions at local agencies and community centers. The classes provide practical hands-on experience with food and nutrition--instructing participants how to form healthy eating habits, cooking skills and shopping on a budget. Each class focuses on a theme such as fruits & vegetables, cutting fat, or health snacking.
Click here to view Operation Frontline at Inter-faith Food Shuttle.
Eat Smart Move More NC
Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina, is a statewide movement that promotes increased opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity wherever people live, learn, earn, play and pray. Meredith Food and Nutrition students have implemented Eat Smart Move More NC programs on campus. Campus walking maps and a campus promotion of fresh produce CSA are examples of completed projects. Development of a healthy meeting guide catering policy and identification of a dedicated breastfeeding room are projects in the works!
Click here to learn more about Eat Smart Move More NC.