Kalamazoo Foodways Symposium

Kalamazoo Foodways Symposium
Kalamazoo Foodways Symposium

Kalamazoo Foodways Symposium

The Food We Carried: Middle Eastern Foodways in Michigan
April 5-6, 2019

 

Now taking 2019 Kalamazoo Foodways Symposium Session Proposals.

Kalamazoo’s Third Annual Foodways Symposium will focus on Middle Eastern culture, cooking, and food. The event takes place April 5 – 6 at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and the Bronson Healthy Living Campus of Kalamazoo Valley Community College. The Kalamazoo Foodways Symposium inspires and empowers the Greater Kalamazoo community to honor our agricultural history and heritage cuisines, celebrate good food, and work together to build a just and healthy future for all.

The Museum will host keynote speaker Liana Aghajanian in the Mary Jane Stryker Theater at 6 p.m. on Friday night. A journalist specializing in storytelling and international reporting, Aghajanian has focused much of her work on marginalized communities, immigration, displacement, and identity. Recently, she has been documenting the Armenian experience in America through food. Her project, “Dining in Diaspora,” traces the intersection of cuisine and agriculture with genocide, immigration, identity, and more.

Aghajanian’s writings have appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, BBC, Al Jazeera America, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and several other national and international publications. In 2015, she won herself a house in Detroit by winning the "Write A House" residency competition.

The Symposium continues Saturday with workshops, conversations, and hands-on cooking demonstrations for all ages at the Kalamazoo Valley Culinary & Allied Health Building. Aghajanian will team up with local chefs to bring authentic recipes to life. Local experts and Kalamazoo Valley culinary students and faculty will present sessions on various food and farming topics throughout the day. All Saturday activities are free, family-friendly, and open to the public.

For the first time, organizers are introducing a companion event, a Summit on Racial Equity in the Food System, to be held during the day on Friday, April 5, in downtown Kalamazoo. This one-day, action-focused event will highlight the various ways race intersects with labor practices, business ownership, and access to land in Michigan. For more information or to join the growing coalition of community partners who are planning this event, email goodfoodbattlecreek@gmail.com.

The Foodways Symposium is a collaboration between the Museum and the Bronson Healthy Living Campus. The program and activities provide historical, cultural, and practical insights into food and food systems in Southwest Michigan. It serves as a convening point for students, practitioners, and the community to come together to build a strong, vibrant local food system.