Written by Renmart Buhay, a Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology student. His passion lies in the interconnection of sustainability, social justice and mental health.
As a university student interested in eating more local and organic food, I have recently been inspired by the story of the Food is Free Project. The Food is Free Project is an initiative based in Austin, Texas that brings people together through food sharing and gardening. The project teaches neighbours how to maintain front yard gardens where the harvest produced are shared within the community. You can say that food really is free as the project creates a connected sharing community which encourages more people to grow food themselves. The project builds free wicking bed gardens made from reclaimed materials which are lined up across neighbourhood blocks and public spaces. These low maintenance gardens provide an easy way of growing local harvest for new gardeners. Similar movements like Food is Free have since then spread out across hundreds of cities internationally.
Movements like the Food is Free Project matter because they create paradigm shifts in our communities by fostering sustainability and collective sharing. Thinking about the impacts of our food choices and systems on globalization and climate change, it is critical that we are more educated about our food options and its impacts on the people and world around us. As a volunteer in my community garden, I have noticed a change in my own views on food consumption and food waste. I have personally seen the positive impact community gardens can have in empowering communities to become more conscious and responsible stewards of our planet. For this reason, I encourage you to start thinking more locally and organically with your food options and share it within your community. Some ideas to consider: host your own free garden, get involved in a community garden, attend a SFU Community Kitchen event or volunteer at a farmer’s market.