|The first of many!|
Over the last few decades, we have grown more distant from the food we eat everyday; it is grown in places we have never been, harvested by people we have never met, and processed with chemical names we cannot pronounce. Entangled amongst large and overbearing issues, our current industrial food process has deep-reaching roots into social injustices and environmental harm. In making strides towards social, environmental, and economic justice we must re-evaluate our food: how our food is grown; how it is transported; how it is sold; and how different demographics experience varying levels of access to that food.
|Students planting the garden in June.|
We are all participants in this food economy and we all have the power to create real and lasting change in our food system, further alleviating issues of social injustices, environmental degradation, and economic inequalities. A group of MPIRG students in Duluth have begun to dig their hands into the impacts of large-scale agriculture by connecting with the soil in their own community.
The MPIRG students at the University of Minnesota Duluth are participating in the UMD Edible Garden Project to enrich their hands-on experience growing food and to strengthen their knowledge of sustainable food habits, while also building a sense of community over the summer months when most classes are not in progress. The garden is currently filled with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, onion, beans, chives, basil, oregano, rosemary, dill, and mint. In the fall, the UMD chapter will host workshops on canning and provide opportunities for students to share and try out new recipes. Students at the University of Minnesota Duluth are urging their campus dining center to take a more active role towards sustainable, healthy food distribution.
The summer weather in Duluth may soon be approaching its transition into the nine-month winter, but the experiences with the Edible Garden Project will have lasting impacts. Through the MPIRG Garden and workshops, the UMD Chapter can help students in their community make educated decisions on food choices. At 10 feet by 30 feet, the garden appears small in size; however, its message is much greater—we need equitable and sustainable access to affordable healthy options that create a strong, local economy void of exploitation of both people and the environment.
MPIRG Summer Intern, Former State Board of Directors Vice-Chair