When our only voice is through the marketplace, it is a very poor voice at best. When we connect principally as producers and consumers, we are still living off the land and not in it, off nature and off each other. This quote from Place, Work, and Civic Agriculture calls to mind a brief discussion we had in class on solutions within capitalism vs. solutions outside of it. I am of the belief that, while capitalism is inefficient and unjust more often than not, there is no single type of solution that can work across all communities, and that only members of said communities can devise real solutions for issues relating to food sovereignty. In certain instances, these solutions can foster bonds between individuals and a deep connection to the land and still exist within capitalism, so long as these solutions can ground people to place with the marketplace aspect as a means for people to learn that they can get involved.
To me, True Greens exemplifies this idea. Yes, food is being produced and sold, but it is also an invitation for members of the campus community to get involved in a system that will hopefully grow into complete self-sufficiency, perhaps one where all food is grown by and for the community.
At UMBC, many if not most students are at a level of affluence where they can buy food on campus at least on occasion. Speaking as someone who during her brief time living at UMBC freshman year ended each day with not one but two cheese steaks, as opposed to a salad, the issue is not one of accessibility to healthy food, but a mindset that comes from a disconnect from the food itself.
What’s so exciting about the solution to the issues of consumption of unhealthy food on campus and dependence on outside parties for food is that through True Greens, the solution to one problem means the solution to both: more people eating healthy means more people getting involved in the growth of what they’re eating, paving the path towards a self-sufficient campus, and vice versa.