Lawrence University welcomed “Recipe for America” author and food activist Jill Richardson Thursday, Oct. 1. Richardson, supported by Green Roots and the Mojmir Povolny Lectureship in International Studies, presented on “The Global Food Crisis” in the Wriston Art Center auditorium. Richardson’s visit began with her lecture on food and agriculture policy in Science Hall. Accompanied by Assistant Professor of Government Jason Brozek, Richardson discussed sustainable agriculture and criticized dependence on pesticides, fertilizers and genetically modified organisms. Additionally, Richardson discussed the World Bank’s environmentally friendly initiative, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, a project developed to reduce hunger and improve rural livelihoods. Richardson also stressed the importance of eating locally, a habit which benefits local economies and improves the relationship between producer and consumer. Following the lecture, Richardson had lunch with students in the Warch Campus Center, where she had a chance to learn more about Bon Appétit’s food service program. Bon Appétit markets its services as “sustainable,” using a term that is sometimes misunderstood. “Sustainable agriculture is the ability to produce food without compromising other generations,” said Richardson. Richardson also mentioned a number of actions that people can take to help create a sustainable food system. She said that there are “little things you can do in your life. One option is to get more politically involved, get to know the bills that are going to be passed.” “The Bon Appétit program isn’t perfect – the local, antibiotic-free chicken they buy is still from a factory farm – but it’s moving in the right direction as fast as it can,” she said on her blog, “La Vida Locavore.” Bon Appétit would ideally like to respond to criticism like Richardson’s, and in the process become a part of the Lawrence community, said Julie Severance, Bon Appétit’s food service manager. When asked about Bon Appétit’s role at Lawrence stated, “We are excited to be here. We are here for the students.” Severance went on to emphasize that Bon Appétit welcomes feedback, and will respond to comments and suggestions sent their way. A major goal of Bon Appétit, said Severance, is to improve the well being of the Lawrence student body through quality foods. During the afternoon, Richardson visited Lawrence’s sustainable garden, SLUG. She commented on finding freshness in the garden, and also on how the food is purchased and served by Bon Appétit at meals. Richardson, who worked for the health care system prior to writing “Recipe for America,” became interested in sustainable agriculture after realizing that common diseases were often preventable through balanced food habits. She also realized that everyone does not have access to fresh produce. Her activism improved her own eating habits, and brought about her environmental responsibilities. Published in July of 2009, Richardson’s book, titled “Recipe for America: Why Our Food System is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It,” details how the food market is run by huge corporate farms that offer consumers unhealthy food options. Richardson says in her book that local, sustainable – and often grassroots – movements are the only solution to America’s food crisis. Though Bon Appétit is a large-scale company serving more than 400 institutions across 28 states, it still purchases mostly local foods, with 85 percent of its meats, vegetables and other products coming from within a 150-mile radius. Richardson gives daily information for people interested in eating sustainably on her blog, “La Vida Locavore,” available at http://www.lavidalocavore.org/.