I grew up with what I’d say is a hybrid between the traditional Jamaican diet and a common diet for youth in America. Both of my parents are from Kingston, Jamaica, while I’m Jamaican-American. As such, I was exposed to both the healthier and unhealthy components of Caribbean dining, as well as the processed and pre-made American dishes and snacks. As a kid, your primary concern at meal time is how much you like the food, but as I got older and started to notice the physical, energetic, emotional, and perhaps even “spiritual” consequences of what I eat, I’ve become increasingly interested in developing a comprehensive understanding of the food system. I’ve experimented with various diets, and I have noticed significant differences in my energy-levels, digestion, happiness, immune functions, and even sleep patterns when comparing an ungoverned diet to a more wholesome, disciplined one. I have come to understand that if nutritious foods were as accessible and convenient to the masses as junk, the world would certainly be a better place.
But there are many disciplines that play a role in analyzing how the food system currently operates. Economics, sociology, culture, history, and more all play a role in the disparity of nutritious foods among socio-economic and racial/ethnic groups globally. An understanding of this provides valuable context into the overall realms of social injustice that have historically and currently function in communities. It also opens a discourse about the shortcomings of the current economic system, where the most economical choice is often to waste mass amounts of quality food when there are people starving globally and locally.
I also care about college students (young adults who are designing their lifelong habits on a daily basis) being overexposed to unhealthy foods. I would love to see the effects that new, healthier options on campus would have on a campus community as a whole.