You Are What You Eat


Samantha Yang, Reporter

Recall sitting in third period, anxiously waiting for the lunch bell to ring. Remember frantically racing for the door to the center, yanking it open and facing the hardest challenge of the day— getting to the lunch line in time to have the “best pick” of your favorite snacks and foods.

After such a struggle, when enjoying a satisfying and delicious meal of your choice, the words “food justice” probably make you think of pushing through the line to claim your rightful spot. True food justice is completely different, however.

Food justice is an area of social justice that, according to Just Food, entails “communities exercising their right to grow, sell, and eat healthy food.” This means that the land, people, and creatures involved in the growing of food are respected. According to Food Forward, food justice is important because it is a path to less injustice based on social differences.

Food justice may not sound like something that applies to the affluent Silicon Valley, but in reality, according to UC Santa Cruz, more than a third of people living in Santa Clara are “food insecure.”

Social Justice teacher Lisa Dalton said, “This is a classic human dignity issue. It’s a classic solidarity issue in the sense that we as consumers vote . . . We vote by how we buy things.”

On Oct. 25, Presentation hosted speakers in the gym to talk about this vital issue in our community. Javier Zamora presented about his experiences with food justice and farming, bringing organic produce and flowers from his farm JSM Organics Inc.

The event made a significant impact on students’ understanding of the importance of food justice. “I think it’s really important to let people know what’s going on and helping to try to fix it,” junior Taylor Yamada said.

This issue spreads to all parts of students’ lives. “In our social justice classes, I had some idea of what was going on with the farm workers . . . especially because I have family who are farm workers, it hit me more,” Yamada continued.

“The event has taken many different forms and shapes . . . in the last couple of years the focus became on farm workers, and just this year, this is brand new because the Religious Studies department purchased 32 Chasing the Harvest books,” said Dalton.

The Presentation community can make a difference in this significant issue. Dalton said, “We can commit to buying organic food. Organic food would be food that is grown without insecticides and pesticides and unnecessary chemicals that ultimately can poison our food.”

CI Director Lindsay Swoboda added, “Become educated. Know where your food is coming from, know who’s growing your food.”

Food justice might not be something that people think affects them on a daily basis, but every bite of a savory lunch can define you since “you are what you eat.”