As we close out the week with completing the first draft of our team topic systems analysis, it has been so exciting to put into words and images the perplexing issues that have compelled me to enter this program and now be rewarded with an opportunity to study their dynamics in ernest. My personal passion and mission to see our relationship to the food we grow, prepare & eat reframed in both the sense of wellness & stewardship is already being integrated into my first year of studies thanks to this project and as the Sustainable Food & Ag industry certificate rolls out in the coming months, I eagerly anticipate the further depth and development it will add upon being incorporated into my concluding year at BGI.
The focus my current team is developing – looking at the intersection of industrialization of agriculture and human health outcomes, specifically in the dynamics of corn, wheat and soy – has become a underlying theme echoing across my studies and my life, as we engage in conversation and research into the factors at play.
An inspiring highlight of the week was getting to hear CAIR Dr. Oran Hesterman, author of Fair Food , discuss his work on systemic solutions to food problems at the BGI Seattle campus. As founder of the Fair Food Network (FFN), he has pioneered several innovative programs addressing needs of both food access and funding. A pivotal success to note in this upcoming Farm Bill year, as nearly two-third of such funding goes directly to nutrition, mostly funding the SNAP food stamp program, FFN’s “Double Up Food Bucks” program has created a partnership between Michigan food stamp recipients and local farmers markets. SNAP recipients are able to redeem food stamps at over 40 Michigan farmers markets at a two for one value towards purchase of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. The vendors are then able to return the token of matched value to FFN for full compensation provided by foundation supporters. The incentivizing is a win-win for the grower and consumer, with health of the local economy as well as the population impacted.
With this Monday, October 24 being national Food Day, I look forward to following the discussion surrounding these issues, encouraging informed consumers to become compassionate citizens through efforts such as these. Please consider participating in this important effort by finding an event here.