The cost of sustainable eating

HANNAH LEE / AGGIE

Supporting organizations that provide fresh produce to students

As an agriculturally-focused school in one of the country’s agricultural powerhouse states, UC Davis emphasizes eating locally, organically and sustainably. However, the prices indicative of what the general Davis population would consider “eating well” are not appropriate for students and staff who cannot take advantage of the organic and local food options in the city.

The Student Health and Wellness Center defines food insecurity as “the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or the limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.” It is this definition that brings to light the oft-ignored circumstances a large portion of the UC Davis campus experiences.

According to a 2016 UC Global Food Initiative survey, four in 10 UC students identify as food insecure, and a study released  last year found that a whopping 70 percent of full-time, degree-holding UC administrative, clerical and support staff have had to make the choice between food or paying other expenses. On top of this, the state program CalFresh, which provides food subsidies to low-income Californians, provides an eligibility requirement on its applications. Noncitizens and undocumented students who sign up through the University of California Office of the President partnership may not be eligible for these benefits.

Acknowledging these facts, food insecurity has not been fully addressed on UC campuses by the institution. Despite the Global Food Initiative’s efforts, there is no data readily available to the public on whether the initiative’s initial funding of $7,500 in 2015 to each UC Pantry program has made an impact on the ASUCD Pantry’s reach in terms of providing healthy and sustainable options for its visitors.

This is not the direct fault of any such attempts to mitigate this ongoing food insecurity problem on campus. This Editorial Board believes that, with more help from administration as well as students who have the opportunity and the ability to donate healthy food, the campus can build to become a more inclusive environment for those who otherwise would not be able to eat as our campus indicates is the “best” way.

Donate to the ASUCD Pantry with your favorite healthy dry, canned and shelf-friendly goods. Participate in this school year’s Campus Community Book Project starting with Raj Patel’s Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and learn more about the Fruit and Veggie Up! program that provides free access to campus-grown produce. Check out the Aggie Food Connection to find out more about the resources available on campus that, though in need of more institutional assistance, will be and have been able to provide for students. Especially since the City of Davis retaining sanctuary city status and UC Davis increasing its enrollment each year, it has become ever more pertinent to assist these projects and expand the campus’ reach into solutions to this epidemic.

The Editorial Board encourages its readers to recognize the realities of living low-income in Davis and to check privilege when advising others to eat “well.”