Food sustainability expert Arlin Wasserman will present, “Changing Tastes: Health, Sustainability, Food and the Future of the Culinary Profession,” during the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Foundation’s Opportunities for Education Dinner on May 1. Wasserman is the keynote speaker for the annual event, which is the main student scholarship fundraiser for the Foundation. The event will be held at the Radisson Plaza Hotel and Suites in downtown Kalamazoo. It begins at 5:30 p.m.
Wasserman is the Founder and Principal of Changing Tastes, a consultancy that works with food and agriculture companies, private foundations and government agencies to combine the key elements of sustainability, public health and demographics and how it applies to preservation of life and environment. He has advised Fortune 100 and growth stage food companies, the U.S. and European Union governments, and some of the largest private philanthropies in the U.S. and Canada.
Wasserman previously served as an advisor on community food and economic development issues to the United States Department of Agriculture, state agencies in the Midwest and several of the nation’s largest private foundations. He has spoken before the European Union Parliament on industry and consumer trends in the U.S. food system and world trade negotiations. Wasserman is also a past recipient of a national Food and Society Policy Fellowship, funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. He holds a Masters of Science degree in Natural Resources, a Masters of Public Health degree, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Economics, all from the University of Michigan.
Recently, Wasserman collaborated with colleagues at Harvard University and other relevant sources on the state of food production and consumption in a report card to the community called Menus of Change. This document describes and rates key areas of sustainability in the American diet, and suggests overall ways to improve health and how we produce food. Living within our limits most often defines sustainability in basic terms. The University of California's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program defines it as “the stewardship of both natural and human resources.” Human resource stewardship encompasses the working and living conditions of farmers and staff, the needs of rural communities and long-term consumer health. Land stewardship involves maintaining or enhancing the natural resource base for the long term.
Steve Doherty, Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Foundation, confirms that Wasserman’s mission mirrors that of Kalamazoo Valley’s new health-focused campus. Last May, Kalamazoo Valley Community College announced a partnership with Bronson Healthcare and Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to develop a campus focused on wellness and food sustainability. Bronson Healthcare donated 13.3 acres of unused land for the new downtown campus. Three facilities are planned, including a new Kalamazoo Valley location for food production and distribution, a center for allied health and culinary programs, and a new psychiatric clinic for KCMHSAS.
The OFE dinner benefits Kalamazoo Valley Community College students with financial needs. In 2011-12, Kalamazoo Valley Community College processed 20,204 requests for financial aid. Of those requests, only 44.2%, or 8,934 students, received some form of financial aid. The number of financial aid applications continues to increase each year and the Foundation’s scholarship fund is one way the college works to meet student needs. The pre-event reception begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the program which concludes at 8:30 p.m. Reservations for the event are available through the Foundation’s website atKVCCFoundation.
Reservations for the event are $125 for individuals and $75 each for students. Sponsor tables that seat eight are available for $1,500. For more information about the event and the KVCC Foundation, contact Executive Director Stephen Doherty, 269-488-4442 or email: click here to send an email to Steve Doherty.