Organic Diet For A Small Planet / Anna Lappe
Hanging out with students the other day at Mt. Holyoke College, I got to thinking about how college campuses have played important roles in social change, particularly in corporate campaigns. When it comes to how college students have been able to shift corporate behavior, part of the reason comes from this simple fact: Most of the time, we consumers are a disparate bunch. We are millions large, but we dont always see our connectedness. Were hard to organize.
On the other hand, the industries selling to us whether its yo-yos or yurts tend to be pretty concentrated and resourced. With college campuses, the consumer-seller relationship gets flipped.
As tuition paying members of the community, students can make a strong case for why they should have a say in how universities spend their money -- how they shop, in other words. Using this powerful position, the student anti-sweatshop movement, for instance, has made a big splash. The student fair-trade movement has similarly had a huge impact.
Entering the scene in force just a couple of years ago, the student movement for fair and local food on campuses and for launching college-based farms is taking off across the country. It feels like every day I hear about a new success story, a new effort blooming on a campus.
The motivation for this work is manifold. In part, students are fired up about health and the food we eat. As someone from Yales Sustainable Food Project put it: "Students shouldnt be reading The Jungle in English 101 and then eating it for lunch."
Another motivating force is the desire to strengthen local economies and to keep small-scale farmers farming. And another inspiration is that students, like the ones I met at Mt. Holyoke, want to get in touch with how their food is grown and share fresh food with friends, family and colleagues.
Anna Lappe is a national bestselling author and advocate for food and environmental justice. A founding principal of the Small Planet Institute
Anna is also the co-founder of the Small Planet Fund, which has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars for social movements worldwide addressing the roots of hunger. She is an active board member of the Community Food Security Coalition and the Center for Media and Democracy.
More Blogs From Anna:
What Difference Does Organic Make (Really)? - August 14
5 Tips For Making The Organic Choice Really Count - September 12
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