What INDS 430 was for Me

As this semester closes up, I am proud to say that I was a part of a team that left a lasting impression on the UMBC campus. I’ve always been interested in civic engagement, but food sustainability is something I had never actively worked to help solve. That changed in the past few months. I remember seeing the flier for this class, INDS 430, and what attracted me was that I would have the chance to work with plants on campus, and for credit! Not in a strictly biological way, but more as a human rediscovering the faded art of drawing food from the Earth. I have always had access to fresh fruits & vegetables, and fondly remember growing mint, thyme, and tomatoes behind my house years ago. Before this course, I hadn’t really given a lot of thought to food access. Connecting the good health and warm feelings that wholesome, healthy food give me with the fact that some people rarely have the chance to enjoy, or even know that they’re missing something so complimentary to their existence, well, it’s sad. But here’s what this class did that different than other sociology classes I’ve taken. We examined the problem, and then we immediately sought out solutions. How can we make gardening available to refugees who need it to feel at home? How can we promote a company that seeks to cut back on wasted food, and make it affordable? How can we support efforts to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to food desert areas in Baltimore city via food markets? How can we share the wonder of sustainable permaculture agriculture to everyday students, faculty, and visitors at UMBC? These are questions that we actively worked to solve. In the end, I was partially responsible for the beginnings of the UMBC Food Forest, something I really enjoyed, and something that I believe will foster interest and enthusiasm. But here’s what I think was most important about INDS 430. I learned I could act. It doesn’t have to be a groundbreaking movement, it doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars, all it takes is some research and a heart that is compelled to be a part of something bigger. I firmly believe that this course could open many students eyes to the power that they have to make good social change for the world they live in. I leave inspired, and proud of what I accomplished, and will continue to work with the UMBC Food Forest for the duration of my time here at UMBC.

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