This January, history graduate student Caitlin Rathe received funding to start a new organization, Students for Food Justice (SFFJ). Working with fellow history graduate student, Nicky Rehnberg, and partnering with the Blum Center for Sustainable Development and Global Poverty Alleviation, SFFJ aims to expand the conversation around student food insecurity by looking beyond meeting immediate needs. While a lot of attention on campus has focused on expanding CalFresh enrollments (California’s food stamp program) and getting more students to use the campus food bank, there has been less conversation around why students need these resources in the first place. SFFJ is expanding the campus dialogue to include the structural and systemic barriers that inhibit students’ ability to access an adequate, nutritious diet. In looking at hunger and food justice through a historical lens, SFFJ brings together policy research and student advocacy to expand food access. The ultimate goal is a hunger-free UCSB and Isla Vista.
During Winter quarter 2018, SFFJ held two student conversations on food justice and created an action plan for Spring 2018. The organization also held a pop-up discussion with Georgetown historian, Marcia Chatelain, on her work analyzing the connections between Civil Rights and fast food.
You can find more information about SFFJ at their Facebook page here and on Instagram at @SFFJUCSB.