Food aficionados will find a smorgasbord of events to sample during this week’s Food Sustainability and Food Security: A UCSB Conference.

The convention – brought to UCSB as part of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center’s yearlong “Food Matters” program in conjunction with the English Dept. – begins at 12:30 p.m. today in the McCune Conference Room of the Humanities and Social Sciences Building. The conference will welcome some of the nation’s finest food scholars, many of whom are associated with the University of California.

Speakers will discuss global food systems, food production and consumption and the cultural history of food. Additionally, lecturers will touch on how food usage reflects on the global economy and environment today and some speakers will present more targeted analysis on the state of sustainable foodstuffs in certain regions.

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated and will proceed until Saturday at 1 p.m.

Today’s events feature an array of options ranging from guest speakers, film screenings and exhibitions. At 4:30 p.m. Darra Goldstein – editor in chief of food journal Gastronomica – will present a lecture positing the idea of using food as a force to enact social change.

At 8 p.m. there will be a screening of the Academy Award-nominated documentary “The Garden,” a film about a Los Angeles community garden that faced destruction.

Conference organizer Allison Carruth said the three-day event is designed to spur new avenues of thinking about what is on our plates.

“The idea of this conference is to both encourage active social engagement and also to stimulate new research, ideas and ways of thinking about food in our society,” Carruth, a visiting fellow to the English Dept., said.

Foodies are not the only people who will benefit from the conference. According to Megan Carney, a co-organizer of the event, the various events will impart information pertinent to all members of the campus community.

“This conference is important because this topic affects everyone,” Carney, a second-year anthropology Ph.D. candidate at UCSB, said. “We’re all linked together by the same global food system and food provides a unique lens with which we can understand our society. We hope that people will walk away from this conference with an understanding of how these things pertain to their lives, and tools for how they can address these issues.”

This week’s conference marks the first IHC event put on as part of the “Food Matters” program. The program is currently planning a subsequent food conference targeting graduate students set for this May.

A comprehensive schedule of events can be found online at