COVID-19 has laid bare the injustices inherent in our food system; while we knew this inequality was present long before the pandemic, the very real impacts of food insecurity have been brought to the surface in our communities. How do we confront these needs and contribute to a thriving food system?

Teni Bakare ‘23 and Shova Malla ‘22, masked, plant in dirt at LaFarm.

Shova Malla ‘22 and Teni Bakare ‘23

Teni Bakare ‘23 and Shova Malla ‘22 joined Farmer Lisa to offer the Our Beloved Community keynote at this year’s virtual OBC. “Our goal was to provide a combination of personal story-telling depicting each of our stories of food, with a look at community-centered efforts to combat food scarcity with abundance in order to build a just, equitable, and human-scale food system” says Farmer Lisa.

Logo for Pard Pantry; illustration depicts a large box filled with groceries, including orange juice, a tomato, and sports drinks. Next to the box, an illustrated person is climbing a ladder to retrieve items. Other illustrated people carry items: milk, broccoli, eggs, and an apple.LaFarm partnered with Pard Pantry over summer and winter breaks, when a small number of students were on campus, but dining halls were not running, to provide weekly access to fresh vegetables, totaling 300 pounds.

We were thrilled that the Vegetables in Community summer stand was able to continue in 2020, with 4 unstoppable masked students (plus some volunteers we picked-up along the way) hosting 10 COVID-safe veggie stands, and distributing 24% of LaFarm’s total production at 10th & Pine in Easton.

With the reduction of dining hall sales, LaFarm pivoted to selling 17% of our produce to Kellyn Foundation, which brings mobile markets to areas throughout the Lehigh Valley that have less access to fruits and vegetables due to food apartheid.  

Food and Farm Studies SalonDuring the fall, we established a connection with downtown, ProJect Easton, where 8% of our produce helped to feed those in our community who depend on emergency food pantries to meet their needs.

The question of the year: How do we stay connected when we cannot be physically together? Food and Farm Studies Salon offered the answer for our food community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and neighbors. A vibrant on-line community for discussion, we forged friendship through a weekly gathering to digest the onslaught of news that 2020 brought our way.


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