Yippee! We went to AASHE!

By Kaidee Akullo, Real Food Challenge

Hello world, I would like to start out by saying: the Real Food Challenge Team at Fort Lewis College is amazing! Last semester I had the distinct opportunity and pleasure to attempt to cohesively summarize all of the work that our team of powerful women does in relation to the Real Food Challenge. This summary took the form of a proposal: a 200 word snapshot of our Vote Real initiative for a chance at presenting at the annual conference by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

Seven months after submitting our proposal, myself and three of my Real Food Challenge teammates were walking up the steps of the Marriott Hotel to present A Journey to Real Food: Growing an Intersectional Food Movement through Student Involvement and Empowerment.

While at the conference I had several revelations. One, community is essential. In any movement the people who make the most change are a coalition of intersectional individuals who can utilize their respective resources as tools for success. That got me thinking, how am I being intersectional in my goals and aspirations? Am I actively using my connections between Black Student Union, the Environmental Center and relationships on campus to create collective change? Two, it is okay to be a little controversial? It is too easy for people to get caught up in their own lives and ignore what is happening around them. If you need to be radical in order for people to start talking about issues, then do it! We will not bring about growth and prosperity by waiting for change to happen, we have to create it ourselves. Three, take a look around. The pride I felt for my team after our presentation was echoed and amplified as I think of all the other amazing initiatives being put in place around the country and world. We came home with ideas on sustainable eating, collaboration, social justice, and diversity, all of which we are eager to engage in. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have experienced part of the social and environmental sustainability work that people are doing if you just look around.

As our discussion on the intersectionality of the food movement ended with a challenge, I will leave you all with a new challenge: Go out and think about how you interact with the world, check your privilege and your connections, and take action to make sustainable change.

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