Attending Maine Coast Semester last year was where I solidified my passion for environmental science and justice. But the first time that I was exposed to environmental science was during my 10th grade year during my AP Environmental Science class. Since then I have known that I want to study environmental science and/or environmental justice. Because of my increased interest in environmental science, I decided to attend Maine Coast Semester. I knew it would be a great way to further expand my knowledge on the topic of environmental science.
During my time, there each student got the opportunity to choose a Human Ecology Capstone Project. For my project, I chose the issue of food (in)security in mid-coast Maine. I looked at three main aspects. I looked at the programs in place to help mitigate these issues such as The Backpack Program and Mainers Feeding Mainers. I went to the Good Shepherd Food Bank in Maine to learn about how they operate and the program they set up. I also volunteered my time to work on the conveyor line. Another part of what I wanted to consider while doing this search was incorporating healthy food into these programs. SNAP points work at most farmers’ markets now, but many people in a financial situation needing the assistance of SNAP points do not have the extra money to drive into town to attend the farmers’ markets or the time to take off work. I also went to a garden that has many different refugee growers. I helped for a couple hours in the field while also asking questions about the ways in which fresh food can be incorporated or not into some of the existing programs. The last thing that I wanted to consider was the education or lack thereof in schools around the issue of food security. Near the end of this project I went into an elementary school and taught a lesson to fourth graders about food and food insecurity. I started with showing them the processes of how an oreo got to their plates. It was fascinating to see the ways in which they had not thought about or comprehended the farming of certain ingredients, transporting, etc. And that most could only trace items to the grocery store. Throughout this whole project I learned of the complexity of food security some mentioned here but also so much more. Every climate issue is multifaceted and need close care and examination to solve or mitigate damaging effects.
I believe that education is one of the most powerful tools that we have. It can bring people to a new and common understanding on topics that are vital to helping this world be a better place. I hope to continue my exploration and journey about and around these issues both in college and beyond. I hope this was a bit of information that sparked your interest and begged you to investigate more. Thank you.