Temple University’s sustainability week started off with the Food Justice Fair on Monday as student and community organizations gathered to share their locally-grown produce with students and anyone passing by.
However, this was more than just a pop-up farmers market. The fair brought forth a theme of awareness about food insecurity among college students. Students who have a difficult time balancing living expenses after spending a major portion of their money on food experience this insecurity.
Many organizations at the fair agree there is a general loss of connection with our agricultural systems. They feel the commoditization of food though industrial means has created a cultural understanding that the only way to obtain food is to purchase the items at your local store. The organizations like Greens Grow Farm, Temple Community Gardening Club and The Office of Sustainability are among the many in attendance hoping to provide comprehensive solutions to this issue.
“This event is about getting the word out and advocating about the issue. We are exploring the start of a student food pantry at Temple as an aid for student trying to get by and trying to get the degree. You can’t do that if you’re hungry, ” said Lauren Troop of The Office Sustainability.
Nina Taylor of the Temple Community Gardening Club said the club’s locally grown food is free to give away to members of the community and students who come by to work on the garden: “That is what we are here for. We are here to help when you wanna help people. Learn that and empower them to supply themselves with fresh food,” Deirdre Shehly of Greens Grow Farms said.
This common understanding of the struggle for students on a tight budget to pay for food is what brings these organizations together to help give all students the best edibles there is to offer. Given the alternative to purchasing a textbook or lunch for a month, the Food Justice Fair is a reminder that there are more options.