SOAN Student Club Party Tonight!

IMG_7392Hi all,

So the leaders of the revitalized SOAN Student Club asked if they could host a semester-concluding party at my house tonight, and I said yes. So, from 6:00 to 8:00 tonight, I’ll be hosting a SOAN student open house at my Salmon Beach place. And although we’re in throes of the semester’s end, a handful of other SOAN faculty hope to be there as well. We hope you can join us!

IMG_8304Here are some additional details: students will be meeting at Diversions at 5:30 PM today, Wednesday. My house isn’t the sort of place you can just drive to — getting there is complicated, so you’ll need to touch base with one of the club officers or contact me if you’re going to try and find your own way there. The SOAN club intends to provide some food and more for those who make the journey.

Event: SOAN Student Club Social
Where: Professor Gardner’s House
When: Meet at Diversions at 5:30 for a ride
When Exactly: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Salmon Beach 56

We hope to see you there.



Dean Jackson speaks on Food Sovereignty, Justice

On Thursday November 12, students from Devparna Roy’s Connections 335 course, Race & Multiculturalism in the American Context, had the opportunity to attend a lecture given by Dean Jackson, local activist and founder of the Hilltop Urban Gardens.  Jackson began Hilltop Urban Gardens (HUG) in 2010 in attempt to develop the prospects of food sovereignty and combat racial and economic issues in Tacoma.


Dean Jackson pictured outside Hilltop Urban Gardens

Jackson highlighted six principles that define food sovereignty.  Focus on food for the people, valuation of food providers, localization of food systems, making decisions on the local level, building communities’ knowledge and skill, and working with nature.  According to the World Health Organization, food sovereignty is attained when “all people at all times have access to safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy lifestyle”.

As Jackson explained, there is a devastating food crisis going on in the United States.  In many communities of color issues of food justice and sovereignty are rising concerns.  HUG strives to foster meaningful discussions on these issues, while developing options for residents to pursue.  Jackson posits that, “everyone deserves access and the ability to produce and distribute fresh, affordable, healthy, clean, sustainable, safe, and culturally appropriate food”.

Currently, food charity groups feed approximately 220,000 of the 820,000 residents in Pierce County through food banks and food stamps.  According to Jackson, if the Pacific Northwest were to be cut off from the rest of the US, say by a disaster, it would take grocery stores three days to run out of food.  This is a troubling prospect; one food sovereignty would combat.


Community members gardening at HUG

Our reliance on food charity and national chains makes an alternative hard to imagine, Jackson said.  However, a shift towards alternative models must be implemented to confront the crisis currently faced.  Food sovereignty does not just concern the matter of obtaining food, it also is meant to address the power dynamics within the food industry.

In their five years of operation, HUG has come a long way.  One current focus surrounds the creation of the Black Lives Matter Memorial Gardens.  Jackson is combining efforts with the UPS Black Student Union to commemorate Black lives lost due to police brutality.  In addition, Jackson hopes to expand their gardens in the future.  Soon, HUG will be participating in Tacoma’s “Healthy Homes, Healthy Neighborhoods” initiative.