One at a time, students walked up to the microphone to ask questions on how to decrease their carbon footprint on the environment.
In celebration of Earth Day, The Geography Department hosted the Food Justice Symposium on Tuesday, Apr. 17 at the FC Campus Theatre.
The event began in the morning with a screening of “Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story” and was followed with a keynote speaker and panel to share knowledge and create discussion around the food system with students.
“It was really good. They let a lot of people know about community gardens, which I had no idea was a thing, as well as food insecurity,” said Samuel Bae, economics major. “There’s a lot of important information they went over that a lot of people should know about.”
Over a hundred students participated in the Earth Day celebration as an effort to make a better impact on the planet.
The film “Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story” follows Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustemeyer on a six-month journey of only eating discarded foods. What they find shocked people around the world and changed the way people see their fridge.
Right after the documentary, Dr. Pascale Joassart-Marcelli, CSUSD professor and keynote speaker, presented her research which focused on food, ethnicity and place. Throughout her career, Dr. Joassart-Marcelli has studied the ins and outs of the food system.
Her research supported that the food system used today is not sustainable or equitable since it is built on the foundation of waste and racial inequality. One of these inequalities discussed spotlighted labor workers, especially immigrant workers, who are exploited due to their unsecure position.
Dr. Joassart-Marcelli also highlighted misconceptions on the best ways to help the environment.
“Food is a big part of the equation to try to be more sustainable, so I wanted to draw attention to that because a lot of people say we need to drive less, we need to use less water, but we can do so much by just changing the way we eat and the way we produce our food.”
To conclude, Dr. Joassart-Marcelli believes students can do great things and help decrease the water and carbon footprint on earth, but warned that sustainability cannot be achieved if the deep inequalities that exist in our society are not addressed.
The interdisciplinary panel followed the keynote speaker which covered themes like the paradox between poverty and obesity along with visions and realities of sustainable farming.
There were five speakers which included Rita Higgins, Fullerton College nutrition and foods professor, and Moises Plascencia, Santa Ana College anthropology professor and urban agriculture consultant.
Throughout the event, many opportunities were given for questions which audience members took advantage of. Students asked questions ranging from how to make a difference in the community college level to how a fitness trainer can apply the solutions discussed.
During the one hour workshop, there was a PowerPoint presentation followed by an interactive game that showed attendees what their footprint is like on the planet based on what they eat.
“We wanted to help inform students about how our food and agricultural system works and create a discussion on our diets,” said Audrey Waight, president of SES. “After the discussion, we took what we learned in order to make new dietary decisions that are in alignment with compassion and sustainability.”
Every year, the annual Earth Day celebration will have a different theme. Last year, the Geography Department hosted their first Earth Day celebration on climate change.
Aileen Nortes Gregorio, FC geography professor and main organizer of the event, hopes to get more departments involved in the celebration next year.
“I don’t want it specific to geography, I want it to be like a campus wide event,” Gregorio added. “I am opening the floor if anyone wants to take the lead on the next symposium.”