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A New Kind of Food Economy

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A New Kind of Food Economy

By Sustainability Interns | March 2, 2015

What: Student Convergence at Cal Poly Pomona
Why Students Should Care? A regenerative food system will not emerge without the effort of young students


In February, the gang took a trip up to Cal Poly Pomona for a convergence. We have decided to build a better network with universities and colleges in the Inland Empire.

It was a small convergence, with just the R’Garden Team and the Green Team at Cal Poly Pomona, but we got the unique opportunity to spend some quality time together as “food people,” sharing ideas and learning together. We started off the morning with coffee, oatmeal, and regenerative systems.

Dan Yuhasz, the Green Team’s Facilitator and Professor of Regenerative Studies shared a bit about a concept called “Systems Thinking.” It claims that everything works together as an organic whole—each event influencing the next. Systems can either be degenerative, meaning that they reinforce a cycle that continually depletes and degrades, or regenerative in that it continually revitalizes. We talked about how our current food economy is degenerative. We talked about how we cannot continue trying to fix this system, but must create a new, regenerative system that takes nutrients from the earth in the form of food and puts them back in the form of “waste.”

In order to create this sort of regenerative food economy, we realized that we too would have to start working together as an organic whole instead of a bunch of really cool, but scattered individual efforts. So we took the afternoon to share our current efforts and begin to ask how we can implement them on our own campuses.

After collaborating, we rummaged through the communal kitchen in the Lyle Center for some lunch and came up with some yummy ingredients for a bright and colorful salad, sandwiches, and a hearty veggie soup with forbidden rice! Cooking together was such a beautiful experience! There is something uniquely intimate about the process of growing food together, preparing food together, and sharing food together. We’re planning some collaborative work days where we’ll visit each other and volunteer some labor as well as co-hosting a couple events together. We’re also talking about expanding this network to all the schools in California. We’re building a state-wide community!

After our lunch, we toured some of the student-led initiatives on campus. We visited the student-run organic farm which only made me pine for more space for us. That’s our dream. We want to be a student-run sustainable farm. We dream of honey bees and chickens and fruit orchards. And we’re confident this dream will be realized because we know that the university recognizes the importance of a greener campus…hint, hint.


Alannah Ivy

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