In 2017, I co-led and designed an alternative social justice oriented spring break trip for 12 undergraduates in the city of Portland. The topic we proposed was environmental sustainability with a focus on food systems. Each day was filled with meetings with community leaders, local farmers, professors, nonprofits, and food distributors. Our trip was highly intersectional, community service oriented, and brimmed with nightly reflections. We covered how racial issues and lower income areas can be impacted by food, culminating in painting a stripped down night club to repurpose it as a center for the Cully neighbourhood in Portland. We met with urban farmers, cricket growers, and had conversations around the importance of seeds, of environmental sustainability, and land rights issues. We met with professors at Portland State to look at food issues from a top down perspective, seeing food inequality as racial and class issues, involving the power of large corporations, and in terms of city planning. We lived in church loaned housing, made food each night, and reflected about our complex food system, asking ourselves where exactly does our food come from and what is behind the production of food.
In preparation for the trip, I co-prepared a booklet for the students, holding weekly meetings leading up to the trip.