On Jan. 28, a group of Davis community members and students planning to harvest Plant Sciences 170C fields of broccoli arrived only to find that UC Davis had mowed them down.
While its motive is unknown, UC Davis should strive to incorporate harvesting and distribution into the course curriculum, instead of letting crops go to waste.
Anna-Ruth Crittenden, a sophomore environmental policy analysis and planning major, noticed the excess of broccoli and decided to spread the word to the community. On Jan. 26, 55 people picked the broccoli throughout the day, keeping some for personal use and donating the rest to local food pantries.
After such a large showing, UC Davis responded by tilling over the field. It is speculated that this was to avoid liability issues, though it is not clear whether those issues were due to the number of people harvesting the crop or for health and safety concerns.
If these issues do exist, then UC Davis responded correctly. However, the university needs a concrete procedure to prevent further broccoli massacre. If UC Davis hopes to become a leader in sustainability, then it needs to reexamine its current wasteful policy.
The university should consider including harvesting and distribution into the PLS 170C course curriculum. As an agricultural school, many students could benefit from the practical experience of farming.
Alternatively, the university could develop a system for groups of students and local communities members to harvest and distribute the crops. These fruits and vegetables have the potential to feed many of those in need. The university would be able to help a community that so warmly welcomes its students.
However, the solution does not lie with just the university – students need to play a part as well. We may be Aggies, but too few of us involve ourselves with anything agricultural. Students need to become more involved with the agricultural life on campus to make this a success and promote UC Davis as a leader in sustainable food systems.