Transforming Emergency Food Assistance
- CalEPA is funding the Environmental Justice and the Common Good Initiative and Sacred Heart Community Services to improve emergency food assistance, reduce food waste, curb methane emissions, and produce compost.
Funded by a $50,000 CalEPA Environmental Justice Small Grants Award, Sacred Heart Community Services (SHCS) and Santa Clara University’s Environmental Justice and Common Good Initiative’s Food and Climate Justice program will collaborate to strengthen emergency food assistance. The joint project will advance food justice in the South Bay by employing research-based agroecology techniques to reduce food waste, produce compost, and improve the sustainability of emergency food assistance programs.
Project partners will craft materials for five community-oriented educational workshops, facilitate leadership development opportunities for backyard gardeners and pantry volunteers, and create a replicable resource guide for food pantries and urban gardeners to use and adapt a food justice approach. The project will culminate in a Composting Distribution Day when key policy stakeholders, City Council Officials, and community members will be invited to celebrate the project’s accomplishments and encouraged to support county-wide efforts to build a nourishing, equitable, environmentally-sound, and community-oriented food system.
Sacred Heart is the lead agency for this grant, and SCU will receive a $15,000 subaward. SCU professor Chris Bacon will guide the research component of the project, working with SCU Center for Food Innovation and Entrepreneurship postdoctoral fellow Christopher McNeil, and undergraduate researchers, including Ava Gleicher '22 (Environmental Studies, Political Science) and Brooke Rose '22 (Environmental Studies, Sociology), as they partner with Sacred Heart’s La Mesa Verde community gardening program to co-develop a community-based food justice approach. Students from Bacon’s classes will also contribute to the research.