Is There Enough Healthy Food in the Lehigh Valley?

Nationally Known "Foodie" Will Kick Off Discussion

Dr. Julie GuthmanIs there enough healthy food in the Lehigh Valley?  Is it affordable and available to everyone?

Weigh in.  These are among the questions that will be explored in a series of free programs starting with a community forum at Northampton Community College's Fowler Family Southside Center on May 20.  The public is invited.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Julie Guthman, a foodie and food guru who teaches at the University of California at Santa Cruz.  Guthman draws on science and economics seasoned with humor to analyze the nation's relatively recent obsession with food.  She is perhaps best known for an article she wrote titled "The Food Police: Why Michael Pollan Made Me Want to Eat Cheetos."   

Guthman's talk will begin at 10, followed by a panel discussion by six other scholars at 11, a community conversation hosted by Renew Lehigh Valley at 2, a poetry workshop led by poet Marilyn Hazelton, and a cooking demonstration and tasting hosted by Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley.  Guests are welcome to come for a specific activity or for the whole day.  There is no cost for the event, but pre-registration is suggested at  

The scholars participating on the panel will be Kelly Allen, associate professor of English and founder of the Community Garden at Northampton Community College, Breena Holland, associate professor of political science at Lehigh University, M. Dawn King, faculty fellow and lecturer at Brown University, Ben Cohen, assistant professor of engineering studies and environmental studies at Lafayette College, Maria McGrath, associate professor of humanities and history at Bucks County Community College, and Dr. Sandra Aguilar-Rodriguez, assistant professor of Latin American history at Moravian College.   

Allen is coordinating the forum and the programs that will follow in conjunction with RenewLV, Second Harvest Food Bank, the Hispanic Center, BuyFresh,BuyLocal Lehigh Valley, and the Penn State Agricultural Extension The goal is "to focus on the human relationship with food across cultures and how we can ensure an adequate, safe, and appropriate food supply," according to Allen.  

The series will include a screening of the film "Growing Cities" and a "talkback" at SteelStacks from 4:30-6:30 on May 20, four cooking workshops at the Hispanic Center of the Lehigh Valley, three gardening workshops, a full-day celebration of local farms and foods at Lehigh Valley PBS on July 24, and a closing forum including a report-out on findings and recommendations on October 29.  The full schedule can be found at  

The programs are being funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the "Humanities in the Public Square" initiative which builds on humanities scholarship to engage the public in understanding pressing issues.