How far did it travel? at Dominguez

This week was my first week subbing for Yancy at Dominguez and I decided to follow his conversation around food justice. I started the class with introductions and then had all students do a 5 minute meditation. I was blown away by how well the 9th grade biology class did. Right when meditation was over, there was a big breath in the room and the class was humming about how good they felt. We carried on into a conversation about how long some foods take to travel. I brought a potato from Idaho, a Darjeeling tea bag from the Himalayas, an oreo that was made in Mexico and processed in NJ and an orange that I got directly from a farmer who lives in the Valley. We discussed travel distance, cost of each product, and energy expended to get that product to Dominguez High.

Tying it back to food justice, we discussed whether or not we had the option of choosing food based on where it comes from. Sometimes, and increasingly so, we do have a choice. However in most situations we don’t have a choice. We can’t choose to eat an oreo made in California unless we made it ourselves, which would compromise taste and quality. Not to mention that being more labor intensive and expensive than just buying the oreos from Mexico. Access to food isn’t equal and the reality is that most people don’t choose (let alone even consider) where food is from before they buy it. After today, I’m sure the students of Dominguez High will think about potatoes travelling from Idaho the next time they eat fries.

The garden is looking green and healthy, with massive sunflowers. I am planning to plant some more in the coming weeks.

Lindsay De May

My love for food and enriching food systems has brought me to LA after graduating in May from Syracuse University with a degree in Food Studies, concentrating on food politics and governance. I grew up gardening with my family in New Mexico, spent a summer working on an organic produce farm in New York, and spent three years as a teaching assistant for food science, locavorism and culinary arts classes. I look forward to incorporating my experiences in developing an exciting curriculum for my elementary and high school courses, with the hope that I’ll inspire them to appreciate food the way I do!