By Sara Swan, Campus Garden Coordinator
Policy can have a lasting-if sometimes subtle- impact on sustainability, and in my favorite sustainability sector (FOOD!), it is no different. In fact, food policy is a major determinant of what gets grown and how. Currently, the House is hashing out their version of the new farm bill, which will determine everything from farm subsidies to food stamps. And that’s pretty important, to say the least. However, being approximately 624 miles from the farm bill debates, it can be hard to feel involved.
Luckily, Bloomington is a fantastic town for joining the fight for a more just, sustainable food system that guarantees everyone the right to eat healthy food. For example, tonight the Bloomington Food Policy Council will meet in the Council Chambers in City Hall at 5:30 p.m. The Council needs more volunteers and is a wonderful way to affect policy on a local level. Some of their current projects include drafting a food charter for Monroe County and assessing where exactly Bloomington is in terms of food security.
If you prefer to get your hands dirty, community gardens like the Community Orchard and Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard Gardens would love to have you as they seek to grow nutritious food for all. On campus, we have SPROUTS and a number of food-related clubs .
We also have the IU Office of Sustainability’s Campus Garden. I’m a little biased, but I’d say it’s pretty amazing. Everytime you volunteer at the campus garden, you are helping to make a lasting impact on our campus food system as the food grown in the garden goes to RPS and IMU Dining (You can also get free veggies by volunteering as all volunteers are entitled to garden produce).
However you choose to get involved in sustainability issues, it’s important that you do. These wonderful programs are only as strong as their volunteers, so go out and make some change! (And probably make some great friends along the way)