Reaching for Higher Ground

2013-2014 Project: Food Matters

The Reaching for Higher Ground project aims to build a stronger campus community, one more accepting of people of different viewpoints and backgrounds. 

 Food Matters-University of Northern Iowa

If you have suggestions or ideas about speakers, events or other programming for the 2013-14 Reaching for Higher Ground: Food Matters project -- to be led by you, your department or a partnership, or to be explored by the Reaching for Higher Ground committee -- please contact us to share your thoughts.

Why does food matter?

Because we all eat! But more importantly, whether we think about it or not, who eats what when and where that food comes from is political. While eating is a personal issue, our decisions related to it have global, national and local impact that is worth our consideration.

Social Justice:

Food justice means everyone having access to enough quality food for a healthy life. Questions related to food and social justice could include: What are the food justice issues in the location, production, marketing and distribution of food? What are workplace issues concerning labor practices? What are government and corporate policies that affect those issues at local, national and global levels? What are the appropriate roles of governments and corporations in making food safe, healthy and affordable? What practices prevent people from getting the information they need for healthy decisions (e.g., lack of transparency, even deceptions, in food packaging)?


Food education means we are knowledgeable enough about food and its production to make good decisions related to the food issues at the center of our health, culture and economy. Our capacity to produce food has never been higher, yet we live in a world where people go hungry. Questions related to food and education could include: How and when do my food choices affect the lives of myself and others? What do I need to know about food and its production, marketing, and distribution and policy in order to make effective food choices on the local, national and global scale? And if we do know enough, why aren't we making good decisions?


Food has become one of the central drivers of the global economy: high food production, yet many go hungry; food as a tool to leverage peace and overthrow governments; food as a resource for energy or for human consumption. Questions related to food and economics could include: The food safety net - does it work? Global food commodities - can we be food independent? Food vs. energy - what is the greater need? America's love affair with meat. What happens when our culture demands food that is inefficient to produce?