Symposium to focus on issues of food, farming, faith

By Claire Asbury Lennox | Emory Report | Feb. 18, 2016

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Rabbi Dr. Jonathan K. Crane, Raymond F. Schinazi Scholar in Bioethics and Jewish Thought at Emory University’s Center for Ethics, will present the keynote address, “Can One Eat Enough?”

Religious and scientific perspectives on food and farming will take center stage at the second annual symposium hosted by The Leadership and Multifaith Program (LAMP), a collaborative endeavor between Candler School of Theology and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at Georgia Institute of Technology.

“Food, Farming and Faith” will be held on Tuesday, March 1, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Historic Academy of Medicine at Georgia Tech. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. A vegetarian lunch will be provided for those who register by February 20. Register here.

Rabbi Dr. Jonathan K. Crane, Raymond F. Schinazi Scholar in Bioethics and Jewish Thought at Emory University’s Center for Ethics, will present the keynote address, “Can One Eat Enough?”

The address will consider how, "in this age of maladaptive eating, deprivation, malnutrition and excess are common experiences. In profound ways, we are eating ourselves to death."

Most discussions of eating are focused on external sources, Crane says: structural issues; industries; manufactured foodstuffs; encouragements to consider factors such as labor, environmental or animal welfare issues when purchasing food; or diets backed by celebrities and scientific claims.

"While helpful, a different approach that reclaims persons as eaters and attends to internal cues may be more beneficial," Crane notes in a description of his upcoming address. "Resources for this counter-cultural perspective are as old and as sophisticated as our religions and philosophies, and as intimate as our bodies.

"Appreciating ourselves as eaters of the world may very well be a powerful start to learning how to eat and eat (just) enough."

Eleven guest panelists from a variety of disciplines will address the unifying concerns regarding food justice and sustainability, as well as the distinct practices of food preparation and eating that have sustained historical and contemporary religious communities.

Speakers include Candler faculty members Jennifer R. Ayres, assistant professor of religious education, and Jacob L. Wright, associate professor of Hebrew Bible, who will participate in a panel discussion on interdisciplinary perspectives on food and farming. A panel on local food and farming initiatives will also be offered. View a list of panelists and the full symposium schedule.

Deanna Ferree Womack, LAMP director and assistant professor in the practice of history of religions and multifaith relations at Candler, says that the purpose of the event is to offer a forum for students, scholars, and members of the Atlanta community to consider the current practices and ethical challenges of food production and consumption.

“Through attention to the health of the body, soul, and natural environment, this symposium aims to work across religious and academic boundaries to promote strong communities, a vibrant nation, and a peaceful and prosperous world," Womack says.

The Historic Academy of Medicine is located on the campus of Georgia Tech, at 875 West Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30309.