Local Food Fair to Address Student Food Insecurity

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Jennica Martin
Staff Writer

Community members will have the opportunity to get free food and support an important cause at the Food for Freedom Fair at Anisq’Oyo Park on Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m. Anyone can try out locally-grown food, enjoy live entertainment, and learn about the global and local issue of food insecurity.

According to a study done by the UC Global Food Initiative, 48 percent of UC undergraduate students and 25 percent of UC graduate students are food insecure, and at UCSB specifically, 41.6 percent of undergraduate students are food insecure.

Food insecurity can be divided into two categories: low food security and very low food security. “Low food security” is defined as being unable to afford a healthy, nutritional diet, while “very low food security” is defined as being unable to afford meals and sometimes having to skip them. This is an issue that disproportionately affects Black and Hispanic students at rates of 60 percent and 59 percent respectively, as well as LGBT students at a rate of 64 percent.

There are organizations on campus attempting to fight food insecurity by providing healthy and sustainable food for students who need it like the Associated Students Food Bank and CalFresh. These organizations will be at the fair, ready to answer any questions and provide free items. The A.S. Food Bank will be distributing produce so anyone can leave the fair with a free bag of groceries.

The organizations will also be there to bring attention to the issue of food security. One of the organizers of the event, Bryn Daniel, said one of the main goals of the fair is to “connect students and community members with the resources that are available to them.” Another goal she mentioned is to “create a space to start meaningful conversations about food insecurity.”

There will be several speakers and performers at this event, continuing the conversation about food security. Aaron Ableman — the son of Michael Ableman, who has managed Fairview Gardens since 1981 — will be there to educate and entertain audiences about food systems, sustainability, and equality. Tim Golarno, a campus contact for the Global Food Initiative, will also be there to discuss the situation of food security at the UC System. Spoken word artist Laura Lora will also be there to perform a few pieces.

Students attending the fair will be invited to further participate in food activism by joining groups like CALPIRG, UC Sustain Our Students, and the Student Activist Network. The Edible Campus Program and the A.S. Food Bank will also be present to speak to attendees.

Anyone can show their support for food security by attending the Food for Freedom Fair on Saturday at Anisq’Oyo Park.

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