ThanksGiving Back 2013-2014 - Growing Change: Urban Food Solutions in the Bay Area

Basic Information
Application Process: 
ThanksGiving Back 2013-2014
Trip Name: 
Growing Change: Urban Food Solutions in the Bay Area
Trip Location: 
Bay Area, CA
Air Travel Trip: 
Number of Participants: 
Trip Description: 

While some families debate whether to buy organic strawberries from Whole Foods or local strawberries from the farmers market, there are others nearby who have never tasted a fresh strawberry. San Pablo Avenue is a street that runs through West Berkeley down to West Oakland.  While West Berkeley includes Berkeley Bowl, an extensive local grocery store with myriad organic and vegan options, West Oakland is often cited as a textbook example of a food desert. Food deserts are defined by the USDA as “urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food.” How is it possible that access to healthy, nutritious food can be so readily available at one end of a street and nearly impossible to find a short twenty-minute ride away? Why is this community defined as a food desert if there is a full-access grocery store within a half-hour drive? And what can we do to address economic and cultural barriers to nutritious food?c
Our TGB trip examines the intersection between agriculture and urban social justice, using West Oakland and other locations in the Bay Area as examples. We will spend our trip exploring different avenues towards equality in food access across the Bay Area. Some of these potential solutions include community farms, school garden programs, food banks, and other urban food programs. We hope trip participants will be inspired, coming away with a better understanding of the food access challenges that many of our neighbors face, and with a drive to continue pushing for positive change in our own communities.

Trip Leaders
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Carly Wais

Carly Wais is a senior majoring in Earth Systems who is particularly stoked about wind energy. In her non-school time,  she can be found making breakfast, climbing rocks, djing for KZSU, and collaging with her roomie. Like Sherri, she is interested in the ways that food issues bring together moral, environmental, and socioeconomic issues. She is passionate about nature, her Chi Theta Chi community, and anything from Baltimore. Carly was a SPOT Farming Trip leader in previous years, and her new interest in Urban Studies makes this urban agriculture trip a perfect fit. Carly is excited to meet you all!

Sherri Billimoria

Sherri Billimoria is a senior majoring in Atmosphere/Energy Engineering, with an education minor. She is especially interested in the baby those two subjects would have together (and she is also very interested in human babies). Sherri loves cooking and eating food, especially creating community through food. She wants all people to have access to an excellent education that includes a strong understanding of the environment and nutrition. She was very inspired by her experience at Urban Adamah, a Jewish urban farming fellowship that focuses on social justice. Having been a part of last year’s Environmental Justice TGB, she is excited to be leading a new trip this year!