Morayo Kamson ’23 is pursuing a double major in Political Science and Environmental Studies and is a 2021-22 Hackworth Fellow at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Views are her own.
As urban areas continue to expand, the issue of food insecurity grows along with it. There is a huge opportunity to capitalize on the expansion of urban agriculture in a number of ways, one of which is through the study, creation, and expansion of community gardens. Food insecurity, which is defined as having “limited or uncertain access to adequate food,” burdens marginalized communities across the country, especially in urban areas where there is a lack of fresh and affordable produce (Horst et al. 2017). In urbanized areas across the United States, an estimated 14% of residents are classified as food insecure (Diekmann et al, 2018). As people continue to move into urban areas across the country, the question of how to properly address food insecurity remains at the forefront of many people’s minds. Santa Clara County, which encompasses the Silicon Valley, one of the West Coast’s most densely populated areas presents an intriguing case for the use of community gardens as a means to improving food security amongst vulnerable populations.
My goal through my research and analysis is to shed light on how the Bay Area, one of the most densely populated areas on the West Coast, can address food insecurity among its residents. Specifically, my research involves the ways in which community gardens can serve as a means for growing, harvesting and sharing fresh produce and food in and around marginalized communities in the Santa Clara County. My research and spatial analysis exist to explore the following topics within Santa Clara County: 1) the current state of community garden placement and usage, 2) the effects of pollution burdens and food insecurity in marginalized communities in the area, and 3) recommendations for local government as to where to place more community gardens. My analysis revealed areas of Santa Clara County where urban agriculture could be targeted and improved through the placement of additional community gardens for neighborhood access and empowerment.
Read more about Morayo's project on the Exploring Community Garden Access in Santa Clara County website.
About Morayo Kamson
"Morayo Kamson '23 is pursuing a double major in Political Science and Environmental Studies. She was born and raised in Rainier Valley in Seattle, WA. Living in such a diverse region sparked her interest in the intersection of environmental justice and politics. She is especially interested in the role ethics plays in creating effective environmental policy. She plans on pursuing a career in sustainable development or urban planning. This past year, she worked on the Campus Ethics team. She is excited to be back on campus and hopes to contribute to positive and sustainable change with the rest of the Campus Ethics team.
She is involved with a number of on-campus activities, including Ignite, Igwebuike, and working as a peer advisor and research assistant. She is currently working on a research project with Santa Clara faculty on the effects of climate change and heat exposure on unhoused people in San Jose. When she's not in school, she loves hiking and spending time in the mountains or at the lake with her family and friends. She also enjoys having picnics and finding new places to watch the sunset."