Pierce has an extensive agriculture program that attracts hundreds of students every year. The resources accessible to Pierce and this department make it a suitable space for community enrichment, so why aren’t we using it?
Many students, especially low-income ones, need access to fresh fruits or vegetables. For those who may be able to access them, they may not use them in their diet. Pierce is uniquely positioned to provide students with fresh, locally grown produce and encourage a balanced diet as an additional resource for the Brahma Bodega food bank on campus.
An agriculture class that specializes in hands-on growing while giving students practice in growing their garden can be used to produce seasonal fruits and vegetables throughout the year. The grown produce can be given away to students where a bag of groceries is provided to each student who wishes to participate.
Growing experience can be possible using indoor pots, planters or outdoor gardening sites. Although this requires an investment on Pierces’ part, these small community gardens are sustainable and could attract more students who wish to get their hands dirty, literally.
One class of garden growing each semester could produce enough food to add more healthy options to the on-campus food bank, which would help encourage healthier eating in our communities. Now, Pierce is utilizing food trucks and limited food options in the cafeteria.
Being connected to your food, where it’s grown, and where it’s coming from is essential to mindful and healthy eating. Many students aren’t in touch with that process and get most of their meals already prepared, similar to a cafeteria.
By providing this fruit and vegetable access, students aren’t only given free groceries but a chance to connect with their food and learn to make healthy meals for themselves and their families.
If Pierce could create a club that gives students knowledge while also giving back to the community, we could develop a more robust agriculture program that could attract students who may otherwise attend a four-year university. This kind of hands-on learning is challenging to find, even at prestigious schools, and we can provide it while also doing good for our students.