13 Goshen College alums making a difference through food

Who doesn’t love food, even a little bacon every once in awhile (in moderation of course)?! Oct. 24 was Food Day, which inspired Food Week on campus, a time to resolve to make changes in our own diets and to take action to solve food-related problems in our communities at the local, state, and national level.

Goshen College alums can be found all over the world growing great food, cooking eclectic recipes, feeding others and helping change the landscape around what we eat. Be prepared to start salivating… here is just a handful of great examples of GC alumni using food to make the world a better place (in no particular order).

        1. Alice Gunden Bender ’80


          As the associate director for nutrition programs at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) in Washington, D.C., Alice promotes healthy lifestyle choices for lower cancer risk. AICR studies the link between diet and cancer, funding research in nutrition, physical activity and cancer prevention and survival, and was a spokesperson this week regarding the WHO announcement that processed red meat is linked to cancer.

        2. Sam Gameda ’75

          Sam Gameda

          A senior research fellow with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Sam works with the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) to direct its Soil Health and Fertility Program. He is finding sustainable solutions to end hunger and poverty by helping small farmers increase crop yields.

        3. Rosanna Nafziger Henderson ’06


          Rosanna is author of “The Lost Art of Real Cooking” and “The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home,” which Publishers Weekly called “an utterly charming collection of recipes and how-tos for the 21st-century hipster-homemaker.” Her blog, paprikahead.com, brings inspiration from her Appa­lachian Mennonite upbringing to the urban kitchen for to those who love good, old fashioned cooking.

        4. Ben Hartman ’01


          Ben, along with his wife Rachel Hershberger ’99, operates Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen and recently published “The Lean Farm” (Chelsea Green Publishing, Sept. 2015) about how he used lean concepts to boost profits with less work and how any farm can use the system. Their food is sold locally to restaurants and cafeterias, at the Goshen Farmers Market and through a community-supported-agriculture (CSA) program.

        5. Rachel Shenk ’80

          Rachel is owner and operater of Rachel’s Bread, a well-loved artisan bakery emphasizing local and organic foods in Goshen. Go there on a Saturday morning and you’ll find a hub of activity: friends meeting for coffee, families enjoying a European-style breakfast, and Goshen Farmers Market shoppers stopping by for a sweet roll or loaf of bread for the road.

        6. Natasha Weisenbeck ’14

          Natasha is the
          Seed to Feed coordinator with Community Church Services in Elkhart, Indiana, where she works alongside the organization’s food pantry and Food Bank of Elkhart County to address food insecurity in the region. Seed to Feed started in 2012 with two gardens and has since quintupled its yield, making nearly 150,000 pounds of local produce, meat, and eggs available to over 30 food pantries and hot meal sites in Elkhart County.

        7. Karl Frey ’88

          Karl works for
          Save the Children, an international organization that provides aid and advocates for children’s rights, where he specializes in food security during emergencies and has worked in such countries as Kenya and Yemen. He has also worked with various humanitarian aid organizations, including the Peace Corps, Oxfam Great Britain and Action Against Hunger.

        8. Charity Grimes Bauman ’09

          10477962_10152987462934502_314822029601435772_n Charity is community outreach coordinator for Homegrown, an initiative at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh dedicated to increasing community access to fresh produce, promoting better food choices, and improving the overall health of families and children. She has helped install many raised-bed vegetable gardens in underserved neighborhoods, as well as providing gardening mentorship and resources.

        9. Paul ’08 and Rebecca ’08 Shetler Fast


          This couple runs “The Hungry Hounds” a Pittsburgh-based food blog with creative homespun cooking that brings together local ingredients, traditional techniques and an eclectic international palate. As a couple that cooks, works, and blogs together, they are passionate about the ability of food to bring people together. They will soon be heading to Haiti to be Mennonite Central Committee country representatives.

        10. Katie Boyts ’05

          Katie wears many creative hats, as a food reviewer for the blog “Not So Starving Artists,” host of CreativeMornings Baltimore, a pastry chef,  a producer for a video production company Shine Creative, a food stylist and more. 

        11. MaryClair Birkemeier-Stehman ’05

          Along with her husband, David and her father, Jim, MaryClair helps run Meridian Orchards, a family-owned organic hazelnut farm in Aurora, Oregon. Check out this
          short video about the farm!

        12. Galen Miller ’76

          Galen owns and operates Miller Poultry in Northern Indiana, which sells ethically-raised chicken and employes about 350 people. Their chickens are all-natural, all-vegetable fed, antibiotic-free and hormone-free, which has found a large Midwest market. In addition to his commitments to his customers and employees, Galen and his family also give back to numerous charitable organizations. 

        13. The Graber family

          Esther Rose Graber ’52 assembled “The Daily Feast: Everyday Meals We Love to Share” (Good Books, April 2012), with her daughters Jane Graber Davis ’76, Ellen Graber Kraybill ’77, Sibyl Graber Gerig ’80, Ann Graber Miller ’80, Susan Graber Hunsberger ’86 and her daughter-in-law, Yvonne Graber. The 250-page cookbook features not just individual recipes, but full menus for soup suppers, guest meals, and celebratory feasts, and includes culinary delights from all over the world – wherever Graber family members have lived (Puerto Rico, India, Cambodia, Bulgaria, New Zealand, England, Cuba, the western United States, etc.).