Fall 2009 Letters
Message from the President
Knox alumni from the same era as Anne's and mine remember that when we were youngsters tomatoes tasted like tomatoes. They generally came from our families' gardens, and we had them only during the summer. Over the years, tomatoes became available at grocery stores throughout the year. They could be shipped from different growing climates all over the world and not get bruised. But they didn't have much taste.
About a decade or so ago, high-end restaurants began to serve great-tasting tomatoes that were grown nearby. At least that's my take on how the locally grown food movement got started. As more folks became concerned about sustainability and the fuel used to transport food long distances, the interest in food produced closer to where it is consumed increased. This year, for example, as a part of the College's sustainability effort, Knox Dining Services began to purchase roughly 400 to 500 pounds of locally grown, pesticide-free vegetables each week.
And then the editor of the Knox Magazine said, "Let's devote the fall issue to food."
At first I was skeptical. An issue on food seemed a bit frivolous. But then I got to thinking about Knox's "tradition of active liberal arts learning." Knox reminds students in many ways of Socrates's teaching, "The unexamined life is not worth living." The College tries to follow that teaching not only in the classroom, but also in reflections on daily living on campus and beyond, including what we eat and how our food is produced.
As the following articles show, current Knox students, alumni, and friends of the College do not take food for granted. The collection of articles in this issue address some of the complex questions and innovative answers about food. And some of them may make you hungry as you read them.
Roger Taylor '63
Letter from the Editor
I have to admit that my desire to dedicate an issue of Knox Magazine to food was a bit selfish. Ever since I began working at Knox five years ago, I've heard about alumni Stefano '91 and Whitney Witt Viglietti '92, restaurant owners in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Every time a member of the Advancement office headed up to Wisconsin, stories about amazing meals and great wine would be readily shared upon their return. Needless to say, I've been waiting years for an excuse to head up to Sheboygan.
Now I hate the term "foodie" because it's so trendy, but, for lack of a better word, I guess I'm a foodie. My husband and I are willing to pay far too much for a great meal, will gladly travel more than 100 miles to eat at our favorite restaurants, and are a bit obsessed with our home garden. We're not alone.
More and more Knox alumni are talking about food, especially in Class Notes-numerous young alumni mentioned returning to family farms in their notes; others talked about owning bakeries or even their own food manufacturing companies; still others talked about traveling to food destinations. Around campus, students were planting a community garden, taking classes on the sociology of food, and encouraging the cafeteria to purchase local food whenever possible. The time was right for a magazine issue about food . . . and I finally had the perfect excuse to head to Sheboygan for some good eats.
As we were researching article ideas for the food issue, we realized that Knox alumni and friends were involved in all aspects of the food industry -- farming, processing, manufacturing, and cooking. And then I discovered that one of the Viglietti's restaurants was called Field to Fork -- prominently displayed as you enter the restaurant is a sign that states, "The shorter the distance from the field to the fork . . . the better." Suddenly, we had a theme.
Each of the feature stories in this issue focuses on one aspect of the food industry -- from field to fork -- through the experiences of Knox alumni and friends. You'll meet Knox Trustee Jim Purlee, whose innovation in large-scale farming has won him national accolades; Theresa Peura '03, who works on an organic farm in Maine; Mary Waldner '73, whose gluten intolerance led her to open her own company, Mary's Gone Crackers; and, of course, the Vigliettis, whose dedication to bringing good food to their community is evident in their success. There were so many good stories to tell that we ran out of room in the magazine-visit the magazine's Web page for even more field to fork features.
I hope that this issue makes you think more critically about where your food comes from and what that means for you and your community. And I do guarantee that it will make you hungry!
Megan Scott '96
Letters to the Editor
Saving a Few Trees
I read the article "Three Ways to Build a Sustainable Campus" in the Spring 2009 issue of Knox Magazine and was very impressed that Knox College is taking this issue seriously. With this in mind, it surprises me that as a parent of a Knox student and a Knox graduate I receive two of every mailing that goes out to parents. I suggest that Knox look at a way to create a system where the mailings could be condensed to one per family, thus saving a few trees along the way. -- Kate Glinsmann, mother of Dwight Glinsmann '08 and Peter Glinsmann '10
Editor's Note: The Glinsmann's dilemma has been solved, and they will receive only one copy of the Knox Magazine and other publications from here on out. If you are receiving extra copies of Knox publications, please let us know (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call 888-566-9265, or write the magazine). We strive to be as accurate as we can be when it comes to printing and mailing our publications, especially as the College works to improve its environmental footprint.
Knox for Lincoln
I just finished reading the spring issue, and I enjoyed it, including the pictures of the Lincoln-Douglas event. I [recently] traveled to Springfield and visited the new Lincoln Museum. It was excellent, and I was proud to see the Knox College for Lincoln part of the exhibit. Has that ever been shown or written about in the magazine? Did I miss it? -- Natalie Bus Hoskins '99
Editor's Note: A notice of Knox's inclusion in the exhibits at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum was included in the Fall 2005 issue.