Introduction

What are the main problems facing food pantries today, and how can those problems be solved?

This website contains the collaborative work of the students in UNIV 211: Food For Thought, an interdisciplinary course on food studies and food justice at Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, Virginia.  The course was a service learning course, so all students completed service hours with local community organizations as part of the class.  Students worked with multiple community organizations that provide emergency food in the Richmond area.  The work done on this website was a major portion of that service work.

This website provides our understanding of the work of food pantries today:  both the problems they face and the solutions they might adopt.  Our class researched what we saw as the most important food topics:  our modern issues with nutrition, diet, food insecurity, food stamps, scarcity, location, and obesity. During the semester, we spent several hours per week discussing our personal solutions to these problems. To make efforts in finding solutions, we analyzed food both broadly and in detail.  In completing this project each of us followed our on individual research interests.  Therefore, this website represents both our own individual ideas and class theories.  Because our work is both collaborative and individual, it suggests not only the effort to discover better alternatives for providing food for all, but our own struggles and relationships with food.  At the root, we recognize that food is important both for survival and for the expression of individual and cultural identities.

During our class, Food for Thought, we volunteered for several food organizations and created blog reports about our own personal stories about food. In our class sessions, our class unified, experimented with direct theories, expressed empirical and intimate point of views, and openly discussed the harmful and beneficial truths that affect modern society, our past experiences from youth, and the changes from personality, preference, and notion of food. Whether it was our own mothers struggling to cook for our family or how we thought about such moments of the past related to human struggle, we strived to find the reasons to issues and solve them through modern times.

For Shalom Farms, here, we have gathered our ideas and thoughts about food today, and applied them to the work of food pantries. This project serves as an introduction towards new alternatives, resources, and ideas for food pantries’ work. Food plays an important role in everybody’s life. Without the discovery of new routes to lead food in the better direction for an individual, we can expect the same problems to occur for future generations. People should never have to starve nor struggle to strive for healthier means and easier ways to obtain healthier options for food and nutritional diet. We hope you enjoy our original views, thoughts, and concerns about the food and its affect on modern culture.

Food for Thought (UNIV 211)

Virginia Commonwealth University

December 2015

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