Discussions on social justice happen on a daily basis here at Boston College. Between visiting lecturers and panels of Jesuits and other religious leaders, students are given many opportunities to educate and involve themselves in bettering the world. This Wednesday, April 24, the Black and Green class and EcoPledge are teaming up to put together an event that will explore food justice issues facing urban communities.
The event, entitled "Seeds for the Soul," will contain multiple parts, where students can gain perspective on food justice in America, hear from two organizations focused around this issue, learn about urban gardening, and even listen to a special performance by Rudy Cabrera, a spoken word poet. Kasia Hart, A&S '13, is a student in Black and Green, the class that organized this event. Each portion was selected to connect with students and demonstrate "how our relationship with food is something that we all should care about and start to pay more attention to," Hart said.
Communities all over the United States have found themselves stranded in "food deserts" where they are surrounded by nothing but fast food and slim to no healthy options. This nationwide movement by nutritionists and community activists tries to urge local stores that only stock sugary, fried, and processed foods to carry more fresh produce and whole food items. Many stores cite problems such as theft, high employment turnover, and lack of space when it comes to opening supermarkets in urban environments. However, states like Pennsylvania have invested in their citizens' futures to attract companies where they are needed.
Food waste is also a major problem in the United States. Nearly 40 percent of our food is thrown out, which means that families lose out on money and nutrition. Hart sees this as another opportunity for people to learn, saying, "composting is becoming an increasingly appealing option to limit waste." By using these extra nutrients for something good, food waste becomes recycled and is no longer a waste at all. It will instead provide for gardens and growing more healthy food.
BC students know fresh fruit and vegetables are not rare commodities in the dining halls. But simply buying some extra bananas and donating them to an area afflicted by this desert phenomenon will not solve the problem. Instead, students can expect to not only be educated on the issues that surround food justice, but will also be given "the resources to combat these issues," according to Hart. She adds, "Additionally, we hope event attendees will take the time to reevaluate their relationship with food, and overall gain a greater level of awareness about the impact that everyday grocery shopping habits may have on society as a whole."
This event will take place in the Murray Function Room on the 4th floor of the Yawkey Center at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, April 24.