For our Group Action Project, my group decided to tackle the issue of food security. In order to host an educational, accessible and impactful event we decided to host a free documentary screening of “Food Justice: A Growing Movement,” a short documentary about a community in Oakland that is transforming and localizing their food system. This documentary covered various definitions of food justice as well as the farmers’ markets, community gardens and food co-op stores that provide healthy, affordable options in what was previously considered a food desert. At this event we also collected donations for the UW Campus Food Pantry, and the first 20 people to bring donations received free Chipotle. It is a little ironic to offer chipotle at an event advocating for affordable, healthy food, but a group member works at Chipotle and we figured this would be a good way to draw people into a larger discussion about food security.
We originally wanted to have a discussion panel following this screening, as well, but it was difficult to find professors or students who were willing to commit to this. Instead, after the screening our audience of about 20-25 people had discussions both as a larger group and with the few people sitting next to us. In my smaller discussion, I talked with other students about affordable, practical ways we might be able to localize our food sources here. We talked about growing snap peas in our apartments and buying from local farmers’ markets, but we agreed that it would take a larger community effort to make a substantial impact. It takes a village to restructure a neighborhood’s food system and increase equitable access, but in order to make larger strides for food justice around the globe we will have to evoke the Gaia theory and implement larger-scale movements for change.
Some members of the audience were involved with the UW student group Huskies for Food Justice, a group advocating for local, more ethically sourced foods on campus. Clearly relevant to our Hungry for Justice event, members of Huskies for Food Justice informed us of their current campaign and how their group envisions food justice in our community. Overall, I think our Group Action Project was successful because we were able to perform effective outreach to turn people out to our event, which also provided about 20 donations for the UW Food Pantry and meaningful discussion about how we, as students, struggle with food security and the steps we can take to create a more secure local food system.