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THE YEAR OF FOOD: 2015-2016

Food may be the most basic human need… but it sure is a complicated subject. It binds together all people in their struggle for survival while highlighting the differences between cultures, beliefs, socio-economic status, religions, races, families and individuals. There is much to be said about what we eat – and what we eat says much about us.

To explore the many issues surrounding this vital resource, Pace Academy’s Isdell Center for Global Leadership (ICGL) selected FOOD as its 2015-2016 global theme. Throughout the year, the Pace community thought critically about food as it relates to the ICGL’s six focus areas: Science & Technology, Culture & Arts, Social Entrepreneurship & Business, Service & Environmental Sustainability, Public Policy & International Relations.

Teachers incorporated food issues and study into their curriculum with the goal of building awareness, fostering understanding and encouraging engagement. The Pace community heard from experts; explored the interplay between food and WATER, the 2014-2015 ICGL theme; traveled to farms and food deserts; sampled fare from near and far; recycled, composted, cooked and generally got its hands dirty. It was all part of our mission to create prepared, confident citizens of the world.


2015-2016 Isdell Global Leaders

Thomas Hoover, Annie Nottingham, Lex Trevelino and Emma St. Amand spent a year filling up on all things related to FOOD. The four students made up the Isdell Global Leaders Class of 2016 and worked together throughout the year to explore food through travel, research and an independent-study course.

In the fall, the group traveled to drought-ridden California to examine the fishing industry and agricultural practices, specifically the farming of strawberries, blueberries and lettuce. They visited Earthbound Farm, a 50,000-acre organic facility in the mountains of Carmel Valley, and meet with founder Myra Goodman, an author, farmer, and advocate for organic food and farming.

The spring took them north to Virginia and Maine, where they visited ICGL Visiting Scholar Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm in the Shenandoah Valley before traveling to South Paw Farm in Freedom, Maine to work alongside alumna Meg Liebman Mitchell ’05, who founded the farm in 2008. Over the summer, the group traveled to Ghana and Malawi in partnership with CARE to explore sustainable agriculture in developing nations.


Joel Salatin is about as famous as a farmer can get. Featured in Michael Pollan’s 2006 bestseller,The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and the 2008 documentary Food, Inc., Salatin runs Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. He is a full-time, third-generation alternative farmer, an advocate for the sustainable-food movement, the author of nine books and countless articles and a sought-after speaker.

The Washington Post calls Salatin an “eco-friendly, avant-garde Old MacDonald,” someone “who can appeal to [the] left, right and center” of the political spectrum; Pollan calls him “the most influential farmer in the country.”

Salatin shared with the Pace community his tremendous energy, thought-provoking commentary, and hands-on and practical knowledge about food production.