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Food & Vocation

2023 NetVUE Gathering
Council of Independent Colleges

Join us April 13-15, 2023 at Wingate University for NetVUE's Spring Regional Gathering on food and vocation. Contemplate, learn, and network with scholars and practitioners at receptions and film viewings, over meals and keynotes, at panel discussions, and pedagogical workshops, and then take in the Charlotte StrEATs festival -- a two day celebration of chefs and local food cultures of Charlotte. The table is set, so come, taste and see.  

Hotel ReservationUse code NRM for discount.

event Registration

April 13-15, 2023

7 p.m. Thursday, April 13 - noon Saturday, April 15

  • Gathering Registration for NetVUE Member Participants (includes two nights' lodging): $50
  • Gathering Registration for Non-NetVUE Member Participants (without lodging): $100
  • Day rate (without lodging): $40 per day

Thursday, April 13

Dr. Jeff Fredrick

From 7 - 9 p.m., Thursday evening will include a Welcome from Wingate University Provost Jeff Frederick and NetVUE Director David Cunningham. A reception will follow, hosted by Shea Watts and Catherine Wright, both Wingate Professors.

The reception will feature Stardust Cellars, an off-grid, sustainable meadery and winery specializing in method ancestral and foot-stomped, basket-pressed craft wines. Nicolas "Nico" Hogrefe, founder and owner of Stardust Cellars will be present during the reception.

Friday, April 14

  • Enjoy a continental breakfast and table fellowship beginning at 8 a.m.
  • A Welcome Message from Wingate's College of Arts and Sciences Dean, Carrie Hoefferle and Catherine Wright, director of Wingate's Collaborative for the Common Good.
  • The Keynote Address begins at 10 a.m. and will be delivered by Norman Wirzba, Duke Divinity School's Gilbert T. Rowe Distinguished Professor of Christian Theology and Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics.
  • Lunch will be provided beginning at 11:35 a.m.

Norman Wirzba pursues research and teaching interests at the intersections of theology, philosophy, ecology, and agrarian and environmental studies. He lectures frequently in Canada, the United States, and Europe. In particular, his research is centered on a recovery of the doctrine of creation and a restatement of humanity in terms of its creaturely life. He is currently the director of a multi-year, Henry Luce-Foundation-funded projected entitled “Facing the Anthropocene.” In this project, housed at Duke’s Kenan Institute for Ethics, he is working with an international team of scholars to rethink several academic disciplines in light of challenges like climate change, food insecurity, biotechnology and genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, species extinction, and the built environment.  

Professor Wirzba has published several books, including Agrarian Spirit: Cultivating Faith, Community, and the Land, The Paradise of God: Renewing Religion in an Ecological Age, Living the Sabbath: Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and DelightWay of Love: Recovering the Heart of ChristianityFrom Nature to Creation: A Christian Vision for Understanding and Loving Our World, Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating (in its 2nd Edition), and (with Fred Bahnson) Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation. He also has edited several books, including The Essential Agrarian Reader: The Future of Culture, Community, and the Land and The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry.

Watch the Keynote

Workshop Session A:
Land & Food as Integral to Identity

Beginning at 12:30 p.m., participants can attend either of the following:


Food System Advocacy and Community Engaged Courses

Hannah Harrison
Wake Forest University

Interdisciplinary Explorations of Food, Vocation and Identity in Higher Education

Laura Wright
Western Carolina University

Workshop Session B:
Justice as hospitality; hospitality as justice

Beginning at 1:30 p.m., participants can attend either of the following:


Food Business as Justice: Entrepreneurial Callings

Nico - Stardust Cellars

Nico Hogrefe
Founder & Owner of Stardust Cellars

Redefining Hospitality: Exploring Vocation through Policy Advocacy with RAFI

Jarred White
Farm & Faith Partnerships Project Manager

David Allen
Project Manager & Coordinator of the Come to the Table Program

Panel: Divine Banquet Exploration

Laura Wright

Laura Wright

Beginning at 2:40 p.m., moderated by Catherine Wright with a Panel Keynote Address from Laura Wright, a professor of English at Western Carolina University, where she specializes in postcolonial literatures and theory, ecocriticism, and animal studies. Her monographs include Writing Out of All the Camps: J. M. Coetzee's Narratives of Displacement (Routledge, 2006 and 2009) and Wilderness into Civilized Shapes: Reading the Postcolonial Environment (U of Georgia P, 2010). She is lead editor (with Jane Poyner and Elleke Boehmer) of Approaches to Teaching Coetzee's Disgrace and Other Works (MLA, 2014). Her most recent monograph, The Vegan Studies Project: Food, Animals, and Gender in the Age of Terror, was published by the U of Georgia P in 2015. Her edited collection Through a Vegan Studies Lens: Textual Ethics and Lived Activism was published in February 2019 by the University of Nevada Press.

Laura Wright books

Panel Respondents

Kris Reid
Executive Director
Piedmont Culinary Guild 

Shea Watts

Shea Watts
Religion Professor
Wingate University

Kendal Vanderslice

Kendall Vanderslice
Edible Theologian and Baker 

Jarred White
Farm & Faith Partnerships Project Manager

The Smell of Money

Day two wraps up with dinner and table fellowship at 5 p.m. followed by a showing and discussion of the documentary The Smell of Money. Discussion will be led by Larry Baldwin, Waterkeeper Alliance and NC CAFO Coordinator. There will be an exploration of the role of food, faith, vocation, and higher education in the quest for justice in Eastern North Carolina.

Saturday, April 15

Enjoy a continental breakfast and table fellowship from 8:30 - 9:15 a.m. Then at 9:30 a.m. choose one of the following workshops to attend:

Workshop Session C:
Fruits of our labors

Beginning at 9:30 a.m., participants can attend either of the following:

Spirituality, Bread Making and Vocation

Kendal Vanderslice

Kendall Vanderslice
Edible Theologian & Baker

A Food and Vocation Case Study: Incorporating High Impact Pedagogy into Core Curriculum and Tracking Impact

Catherine Wright

Catherine Wright
Executive Director, Collaborative for the Common Good
Associate Professor of Religion & Philosophy
Wingate University

Shea Watts

Shea Watts
Religion Professor
Wingate University

Closing Remarks

Head to the Helms Art Gallery at 11:30 a.m. for NetVUE's closing remarks.

Streats Festival logo

The final session will begin at 11:30 a.m. After NetVUE, head to uptown Charlotte for the StrEATs Fesitval!