One of the many great resources that we have on the SJSU campus is the Community Garden. This garden began in 2014 and started from students and the Student Hunger Committee. This program is funded through student tuition and gives students the opportunity to learn how to grow and harvest their own organic fruits and vegetables. Anyone in the community is able to join in on volunteering at the community garden, including children! The volunteers help produce fruits and vegetables for the Spartan Food Pantry. A great incentive the garden gives to these students is that at the end of every volunteer day, there is an opportunity to harvest and take a few fruits and vegetables home! Along with growing their own fruits and vegetables, students also learn about food and environmental justice. Because of the garden, access to healthy and culturally relevant foods are provided while students volunteering learn about sustainable agricultural practices. While learning about the garden, we interviewed the Garden Coordinator, Matthew Spadoni and learned the shocking statistics about food waste. The community garden collects the compost from the Spartan Food Pantry and as of the beginning of November they estimated over 1,400 pounds of food waste that has been composted!
For SJSU students who are finding it difficult to get all the items they need, the SJSU Food Pantry is another great on campus resource. The Food Pantry is open to all enrolled students and carries an assortment of grocery items. Food items are provided through Second Harvest and donations. Students are allowed to come once a week and fill pick up items they might not be able to and are encouraged to take as many items as they can. Not only does the Food Pantry supply students with grocery items, they also provide free feminine products. Students are encouraged to donate food items and feminine hygiene products in the donation bin outside the Food Pantry. When we spoke with Sam, a representative from the Food Pantry, she said that anything within the correct expiration date helps. Feminine Hygiene products are always needed because those are purely donation based. We encourage our fellow SJSU students to help and donate and keep the Food Pantry stocked, so that all those who benefit from it, can continue to do so.
Hunger at Home:
Our group was fortunate enough to volunteer at Hunger at Home for a day. We packaged roughly 200 meals and helped send them out to those in our community. With 35 million Americans facing food insecurity, and 40% of food wasted, it is critical that this program continues to thrive by helping those in our community fight hunger.
The garden welcomes students of all majors to volunteer up to three times a week. If you are interested in learning more about growing your own food and supporting sustainability practices, check out the volunteer opportunities at: https://www.sjsu.edu/as/departments/cesar-chavez-center/community-garden.php
Hunger at Home needs volunteers, especially during the holiday season. If you’re interested in volunteering, go to their website at https://hungerathome.org/
If you’re able, donate to the food pantry! The San Jose State food pantry is in need of culturally diverse foods and feminine products. The food pantry is located at the exterior entrance of the Student Union building on the San Jose State University campus and it’s open Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM.