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Summer Academic Project


During Orientation, you will hear from self-described “Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic” Joel Salatin, a third-generation alternative farmer, who will be speaking on issues of food access and food justice in his talk entitled, “How Can We Afford It?” Visit his website at or follow him on Twitter (@JoelSalatin).

At Wake Forest, there is a long tradition of incoming students engaging as a class in a summer academic project. Along with raising awareness of vital political, cultural, or social issues, we also introduce students to the type of intellectual dialogue we value and expect. The Summer Academic Project requires you to read, reflect, and act on selected materials prior to your arrival on campus in August.

This year’s summer academic project revolves around issues of food justice. Since 2010, Winston-Salem has been named one of the nation’s hungriest cities (Food Research and Action Center). Given that North Carolina is one of the top food-producers in the country, what accounts for the hunger that so many citizens in our city face? How do we make sense of this problem? The USDA defines food deserts as, “Low-income census tracts with a substantial number or share of residents with low levels of access to retail outlets selling healthy and affordable foods.” According to the American Nutrition Association, this is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.

For your Summer Academic Project, we ask you to research and think about the following questions:

  • Do food deserts exist in Winston-Salem? If so, where?
  • Are there food deserts in your current community?
  • What accounts for the location of these food deserts in Winston-Salem and in your community?
  • What should be our response?

In order to answer these questions, you are being asked to complete a series of readings, and an activity before coming to campus. You will be discussing these issues and data with your new classmates, advising groups, and professors, before hearing Joel Salatin speak on these issues.


Steps for Completing the Summer Academic Project:

 Step 1: Complete the Following Readings

1. An excerpt (the Executive Summary and Introduction) from Forsyth Futures’ January 2013 report “Forsyth County’s Community Food System: A Foundation to Grow

 The full report can be found online.  For more information on Forsyth Futures, please visit their website.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention article, “Why do we need to eat healthy?

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2009 National Action Guide, “State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables: What can we do?

 Step 2: Research Food Deserts and Answer a Few Questions

Download and Complete the Student Activity

 Step 3: Attend Joel Salatin’s Talk, “How Can We Afford It?” on Sunday, August 25th in Wait Chapel 


Additional Information and Resources

Local Resources

Forsyth Futures

Federal Resources

United States Department of Agriculture: Nutrition

American Nutrition Association: Food Deserts

What are people doing to address food justice issues?

Chicago, Fresh Moves Mobile Produce Market

Global Oneness Project, The Peoples Grocery

Will Allen’s, Growing Power, Inc.

 Ways to Get Involved

The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest
Volunteer to serve as a Cooking, Delivery, or Food Rescue shift volunteer. Volunteer shifts are available everyday but Saturday after 4pm.

NC Campuses Fighting Hunger Conference: September 6th & 7th, Benson University Center
Wake Forest will host this 2nd annual statewide dialogue among institution of higher education to develop creative solutions to hunger.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina
Volunteers are needed to help process and package donated food to go out across an 18 county reach Monday-Friday between 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and between 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. For more information contact .

Wake Forest Campus Garden
Advised by the Office of Sustainability, the Wake Forest Campus Garden is located at 1141 Polo Road and grows vegetables that are used in Campus Kitchen meals and produce deliveries. Students lead volunteer shifts multiple times weekly in the garden. For more information contact the .

Hunger & Homelessness Week
Student organizations from across campus join with related courses to educate the Wake Forest campus on hunger and homelessness during this interactive week in November. The week is planned by the Hunger Board, and cross-campus committee made up of students, faculty, staff, and community members. For more information or to help with the planning contact .