On Monday, Nov. 24, NMU students and local residents will get a chance to see how poor global food distribution contributes to famine.
The Superior Geography Club and Earthkeepers are holding the Ox-Fam Hunger Banquet to raise awareness of famine.
“It’s a roleplaying event that will demonstrate how food is distributed between the low, middle and upper classes,” said NMU sophomore Mike Robinson.
Robinson helped organize the event as a part of the Superior Geography Club.
Participants in the banquet will be given a color-coded card. The color of the card determines which class-level meal a diner will get. The color ratio of cards handed out corresponds to the percentage of the world’s population that lives in that condition.
According to Robinson, people who are lucky enough to draw an upper-class card will get a meal consisting of pasta, bread and salad. Middle-class diners will receive rice, salad and tea. The majority of diners will be in the low-class and will receive a meal consisting of rice and tea.
The food for the event is being donated by the Marquette Food Co-Op.
Robinson said it was only natural that the Geography Club be involved in the event.
“Geography is really a broad study,” he said. “Anything relating to our world and how we interact with it is key.”
Earthkeeper member Ben Scheelk said he hopes the timing of the event causes people to reflect on their usage of food.
“The most important thing with the event is the timing,” Scheelk said. “It’s two days before Thanksgiving and hopefully when people sit down at their Thanksgiving feasts they will be able to realize just what they are thankful for.”
Earthkeepers is an interfaith organization that has taken a pledge to protect the environment.
The Earthkeepers’ goals include gaining a deeper reverence for the miracle of creation, identifying as citizens of the world, accepting responsibility for the natural world and promoting an interfaith dialogue.
Scheelk said Earthkeepers’ theme for this year is the relationship between the environment and food.
“One of Ox-Fam’s main concerns is the famine being created in sub-Saharan Africa by climate change,” he said. “This event is a great link for us to show how climate change is affecting food distribution.”
Ox-Fam is an international organization which aims to raise awareness of and end famine. They have projects in over 100 different countries.
Projects have included development projects such as bringing clean water to villages and teaching sustainable agriculture. In addition to development projects Ox-Fam also provides relief after natural disasters.
The hunger banquet taking place at Northern is part of a nationwide campaign by Ox-Fam. Other events include day long fasts, or skipping meals as a group throughout the week.
Scheelk said that even though the event will highlight the causes of global famine it will not assign blame.
“This event isn’t there to point fingers at anyone,” he said. “The only purpose is to educate.”
In addition to the dinner, the event will also feature several short movies provided by Ox-Fam and two guest speakers.
Natasha Gill, out-reach director of the Marquette Food Co-Op and owner of Dancing Crane Farms, a self-sustained, organic farm in Skandia, will speak on sustainable local agriculture.
In addition, NMU professor Stephen DeGoosh will also speak.
Last year the Sustainable Agriculture Club hosted a similar event, although that event lacked a dinner due to campus food preparation rules. This year the event is being hosted at Grace United Methodist Church to avoid restrictions on food preparation.
The event begins at 6 p.m. at the Grace United Methodist Church across the street from Whitman Hall.
The dinner is free to everyone, but the group will be collecting donations for Ox-Fam. Ox-Fam’s suggested donation for the event is $3.