By Jenna Kingkade
Two years ago I began working for Cal Dining as a food sustainability coordinator- a positon that involved educating students living in the resident halls about food sustainability. I was quite put off by the apathy that I observed. As my fellow coordinators and I took surveys to gather students’ thoughts on a tray-less dining initiative we were proposing, I couldn’t help but wonder: Why don’t students care that by eliminating trays we can save hundreds of gallons of water each day? This is Berkeley- doesn’t everyone want to compost, drink tap water and sit in trees…??
I soon realized (a little disappointedly) that the University of California Berkeley is not exactly the same as the City of Berkeley when it comes to its commitment to sustainability. With that in mind, I decided to create a guide that I hoped would both explore issues relating to food sustainability and suggest ways that students and community members could make their food choices and dining habits more sustainable.
Fifteen passionate Cal students suffered through my Decal class Food Sustainability Journalism in Spring 2010 and contributed articles to Naked Bear; Your Guide to Eating Sustainably. With a 10,000 dollar grant from Brita, we printed and distributed 5,000 copies of the guide during Earth Week and the remaining 5,000 are currently being distributed in dining locations around campus and in the res halls.
This blog is an expansion of the project to educate the community about food sustainability (and now health) issues. Scott Shapiro approached me last spring and suggested that we create a blog, both in order to reach a wider audience and to herald the increasing predominance and importance of social media (especially the blogosphere).
Although I will subscribe to newspapers and magazines as long as they are extant (I’m a diehard fan of traditional media), I recognize the great potential that social media provides for the sharing news and information. Importantly, this is grass-roots journalism, produced for students by students, that is not censored by corporate interests or influenced by advertisers.
I am excited to observe the outcome of this project and I hope that you enjoy it!
Please come back soon and read some great stories by UCB students about current food sustainability and health issues and news.