Peace Symposium ties agriculture, peace together


The 32nd Annual Westheimer Peace Symposium, titled “Regenerative Agriculture for a Just and Peaceful Future,” on Sept. 28 will provide an in-depth view on how agriculture is directly tied to peace.

Ohio State University’s Dr. Rattan Lal will provide the keynote address, “Toward a More Peaceful Future: Managing Soil Carbon for Global Food and Climate Security” at 7 p.m. in Hugh G. Heiland Theatre. He is a distinguished university professor of soil science at OSU, past president of the International Union of Soil Sciences, adjunct professor at universities in Iceland and India, and goodwill ambassador for sustainable development issues in Costa Rica.

For five decades, Lal has traveled all over the world conducting research in the field of carbon sequestration, a practice that has been shown to significantly reduce carbon in the atmosphere while simultaneously restoring soil depleted by years of industrial farming. Lal will be joined during the day by Ohio leaders of regenerative agriculture, who will share their years of expertise in ecological farming.

The keynote address is open to all and does not require previous registration while the complementary panel presentations, workshops and farm tours require signups that begin Sept. 14. See full details and registration information at

Pre-Symposium events on Sept. 27 include tours featuring local farms engaging in regenerative practices, from 4 to 6 p.m., at the Henson Farm, McCormick Workhorse Farm, Branstrator Farm and That Guy’s Family Farm. Tours leave from the college.

That evening from 7 to 8:30 p.m., artist and award-winning storyteller Omopé Daboiku Carter will offer an interactive workshop in which, through writing and sketching (supplies provided), the program will identify band-aid measures for reducing anxiety and stress.

On Sept. 28, the day is chock full of panel sessions (pre-registration required) in the McCoy Room of Kelly Center. The panels include “Regenerative Agriculture for a Just and Sustainable Future,” from 9:10 to 10:10 a.m., with Susan Jennings, executive director of the Agraria Center for Regenerative Practice, and Omopé Daboiku Carter, urban farmer and food sovereignty adviser; “Regenerative Farming and Soil Health” with no-till farmers Jon Branstrator and David Brandt from 10:20 to 11:20 a.m., and “Permaculture, Foraging and the Cincinnati Foodshed as Pathways to Food Sovereignty,” from 12:40 to 1:40 p.m., with Alan Wright, associate professor, arts and sciences at The Christ College of Nursing, and Susan VonderHaar, executive director of Cincinnati Permaculture Institute.

WC alumna Barbara Leeds will present a carillon concert titled “For the Beauty of the Earth” featuring the 60-year-old Simon Goodman Memorial Carillon on WC’s Collett Mall from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Also, vegetables grown by students on the College’s Academic Farm will be for sale at a farmers’ market, from 4 to 5 p.m., on the patio of the Center for the Sciences and Agriculture.

Concurrent with the panel presentations will be a tour of the Academic Farm and several special workshops, all of which require pre-registration. The Academic Farm Tour will be held from 10:20 to 11:20 a.m. and 12:40 to 1:40 p.m.

The workshop titled “Harvesting for the Farmers’ Market” will be held from 1:50 to 2:50 p.m., followed by “Introduction to Seed Saving” from 1:50 to 2:50 p.m. and again from 3 to 4 p.m. “Nature Drawing with Mary Beth Thorngren-Crane” will be held from 1:50 to 2:50 p.m. and again from 3 to 4 p.m.; “Container Gardening” will be presented from 1:50 to 2:50 p.m. and again from 3 to 4 p.m.; and “Community Gardens Water System” will be presented from 3 to 4 p.m.

The Westheimer Peace Symposium, established in 1991 by an endowment from Charles and May Westheimer, is an annual event with four rotating themes: Peace and Nonviolence, Peace and Social Justice, Peace and the Environment, and Peace and the Nature of War. As a result, it is a key reflection of Wilmington College’s Quaker heritage and its core values of peace, social justice, respect for all persons and integrity.

Submitted by Randall Sarvis, senior director of public relations, Wilmington College.

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