One Book, in review

Monroe County Community College has played a large role in the One Book, One Community Events and this year served as no exception.

MCCC has been a major sponsor of the events for five years.

For this year’s selection, the OBOC organization chose Tracie McMillan’s The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields, and the Dinner Table.

For a full timeline of events see this timeline http://www.dipity.com/jgriz/One-Book-One-Community/

When the title was released, Cheryl Johnston, co-chair of the One Book committee said she was looking forward to the change of pace for this year’s events.

“We did break away from fiction this year, but I think it’s going to be an exciting choice,” she said.

The author of the selection, Tracie McMillan, is a Michigan native journalist. Her work has been praised by the New York Times, earned the Sidney Hillman Prize for Book Journalism, and a Books for Better Life Award. Her work has also been featured in National Geographic.

For her work in The American Way of Eating, she went undercover to work alongside migrant farmers, Applebee’s kitchens, and Walmart produce sections.

The objective of her investigation was to examine the reality of the American food industry.

This year’s event kicked off on March 25 in the atrium of the La-Z-Boy Center.

The event showcased local businesses, campus clubs, and keynote speaker Kate Daughdrill.

Daughdrill is an artist and urban farmer in Detroit. At the event she explained her part in assisting to build sustainable eating practices in her hometown.

During the three week-long event, community members were able to participate in, and enjoy other various activities such as film screenings, panel discussions, and buffets.

One panel discussion sponsored by the Agora entitled “Think Global, Eat Local” got experts and community members talking about the importance of organic food consumption.

The panel members were able to give tips for starting home gardens, finding cheaper organic options, and also discussing the importance of getting today’s youth involved and interested in organics and farming.

Panel member Orlando Thorpe, COE of Building Urban Gardens in Detroit said the key to making a change in the American food system is to get people talking.

“We have to start a conversation. It has to start with the youth and reach the elderly, the people in charge, the policy makers. Conversation is key in this movement.”

While panel discussions were a way to get people talking, the easiest way to learn more about the book’s content was to hear from the author herself.

For her work in The American Way of Eating, McMillan spent three years working on farms in California, in the produce section of a Michigan Walmart, and in a New York Applebee’s kitchen.

The objective of her investigation was to examine the reality of the American food industry.

On April 15, McMillan came to campus to meet with students and present the story of her journey to community members.

During her day she met with students, answered questions, and singed books.

She then concluded her evening with a presentation about her book and her stance of the problems the American food system is facing.

The One Book, One Community objective is to bring the community together, and to create a discussion.

This year’s selection is something that Cheryl Johnston did just that.

“We thought it was something the Monroe community could relate to, that we would enjoy discussion, and would be enlightening for most of us.”