Today’s post is from Finley’s cousin, Emma Eaton. Emma is about to graduate with her World Health major!
Last summer I had the privilege of working as both a farm and program liaison intern at Veggielution, an urban farm in the heart of downtown San Jose. This allowed me to interact with the full spectrum of the farm’s operations — from plating to running Cocina, a weekend cooking class in Spanish for the local community. When it comes to promoting food security and sustainability, Veggielution is at the forefront. All produce is organic and sold below market value. A comprehensive voucher system ensures that everyone who needs the food can afford it, and on-site programs teach community members how to prepare healthy delicious meals using produce from the farm. In addition to this sustainable approach at addressing food security, Veggielution hosts a children’s garden and an extensive volunteer network designed to connect people with the farmland that used to cover the entire valley floor.
The time I spent at my internship taught me that promoting food sustainability is about more than just reminding people to source their food locally. It’s about ensuring that everyone — across all socioeconomic classes — has the capital necessary to access these resources. This means providing culturally appropriate produce, teaching people how to utilize the ingredients, and making sure that accessing these foods is convenient. For many of, making the switch to sustainable foods involves making small changes to our existing routines. This is rarely the case for those who need it the most. So what can you do?
-If you have a quick easy vegan/vegetarian recipe, share it!
-Find out if your farmers market accepts food stamps and consider asking them to make the switch if they don’t already.
-If they do and it’s not obvious, find ways to promote this resource in your community.
-And finally, eat sustainably yourself! Buy local seasonal produce, experiment with vegetarian recipes, freeze or preserve foods to use out of season, take the time to cook your own meals, and check to see if there are any Community Sourced Agriculture (CSA) services that you can access in your area!
As someone who took home and processed ten heads of accidentally shoveled-in-half garlic last summer, I can confirm that it still tastes just the same, even after nine months in the freezer!