The Oberlin Review

Attendance at CDS Policy Symposium Essential for Food Justice

Aliya Tuzhilin, Helena Bader, Eleanor Catlin, and Ayami Kan

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To the Editors:

Oberlin students and CDS employees have the incredible opportunity to help write a food policy for Oberlin College that will guide the College and CDS in its purchasing and employment practices. This Saturday, we, the Real Food Challenge, are hosting a symposium to discuss a draft of the food policy we have written. This policy is based upon the values of the Real Food Challenge, which is a national movement working to increase the amount of local, sustainable, humane, ecological and fair food purchasing and practices on college campuses across the country. This symposium is a forum for students to voice their opinions on food purchasing, campus sustainability, labor rights and other food-related issues. This feedback from the student body will be used to inform the guidelines in the policy and ultimately shape how CDS and the administration operate. The College spends millions of dollars on food and dining annually, so this symposium really allows students to exert power in administrative decisions. In addition to receiving feedback on the policy, we will also welcome ideas for an action plan to reach the goals outlined in the policy.

Food justice encompasses many different social and environmental issues, as it impacts farmers, factory laborers, small businesses, consumer health, global warming and Oberlin employee rights. If you are involved with feminist work, you should be at the symposium on Saturday, since investment in businesses that are run by women or empower women is a key component of feminism. If you are involved with anti-racism work, this is a forum for you to impact what kind of labor and business practices we support overseas and in the United States, as well as issues of cultural appropriation through food served in the dining halls. It is not necessary to have an extensive knowledge of food justice issues to contribute to this policy.

We need you, as students who are investing in Oberlin College, to attend the symposium on Saturday. Firstly, in order for this policy to reflect the values and opinions of the Oberlin student body, we need to have discourse that reflects the diversity of values and opinions on this campus. Secondly, if a critical mass of students on campus visibly supports fair food practices, this movement will garner more support from the rest of the student body. Participating in creating this policy is an opportunity for you to have your values put into effect on a scale that can ultimately shift millions of dollars toward humane, sustainable, local and fair food and labor practices.

The Food Policy Symposium will be divided into two sessions. We would love to have you at both of them, but feel free to come to the one that matters to you the most. They are as follows:

3–5 p.m.: Food Procurement, Supply Chain, Campus Sustainability, Student and Community Involvement

5–6 p.m.: Labor, Immigration and Human Rights

If you would like to help with the implementation of the policy, we will discuss the food policy implementation group in each session.

–Aliya Tuzhilin, Helena Bader, Eleanor Catlin and Ayami Kan 

College sophomores

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