Kalamazoo Foodways Symposium

Kalamazoo Foodways Symposium
Kalamazoo Foodways Symposium

Thank you for your interest in the Foodways Symposium April 3 and 4, 2020. We are heeding the recommendation of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and cancelling events which include the gathering of large groups.




We look forward to offering this same plant forward theme for the Foodways Symposium in April 2021. Our hope is that you will join us in one year’s time.

For more information about the college’s response to the covid-19 coronavirus, please visit www.kvcc.edu/coronavirus.


Kalamazoo Foodways Symposium

Plant Forward: Savoring our Past, Eating for the Future

Kalamazoo’s Fourth Annual Foodways Symposium: Plant Forward will focus on the future of foodways and will provide a platform for discussion about the intersection of food, culture, health, and environment. The event takes place Friday, April 3, at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and Saturday, April 4, at the Bronson Healthy Living Campus and Food Innovation Center of Kalamazoo Valley Community College. The Foodways Symposium inspires and empowers the Greater Kalamazoo community to honor our agricultural history and heritage cuisines, celebrate good food, and work together to build a just and healthy future for all.

The Museum will host keynote speaker Abra Berens in the Mary Jane Stryker Theater at 5:30 and 7 p.m. on Friday night. Abra is a chef, former farmer, and writer who believes that the meals we eat should change with the seasons and that their ingredients should come from nearby. She strives to make simple, delicious meals that champion the region. Her first cookbook, Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables, is a teaching cookbook that aims to help build readers’ confidence in preparing vegetables by providing easy-to-follow recipes, detailed explanations of cooking techniques, and a myriad of variations for each recipe to inspire future dishes. The book will be available for sale during both days of the event, and Abra will be doing a book signing. The Friday night event kickoff will also feature painter Ellen Nelson’s beautiful food-themed artwork and a tasty “plant forward” food sample from a local chef. The Organic Gypsy is the guest caterer for Friday night providing a tasty plant-forward snacks.

The Symposium continues Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy hands-on workshops, conversations, cooking demonstrations, and food sampling for all ages at the Marilyn J. Schlack Culinary and Allied Health Building and the Food Innovation Center. Local chefs will bring authentic, plant-based recipes to life. Local experts and Kalamazoo Valley culinary students and faculty will present sessions on various food and farming topics throughout the day.

Some sessions require advance registration. All Foodways Symposium activities are free, family-friendly, and open to the public. Join this event and become immersed in celebrating our bountiful agricultural region and the richness that plants bring to our life and health!

The Foodways Symposium is a collaboration between the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and the Bronson Healthy Living Campus. The program and activities provide historical, cultural, and practical insights into food and food systems in Southwest Michigan. It serves as a convening point for students, practitioners, and the community to come together to build a strong, vibrant local food system.