Down to Earth: Reflections on Environmental Justice in the Bay Area

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Reflections on Environmental Justice in the Bay Area By ASUC Department of Unsustainable Partnerships Pour Out Pepsi

Table of Contents 1 2

Letter from the POP team Community Resilience & Food Empowerment during COVID-19: Food is Free Solano By Vanessa Leehuga


Learning About Small Local Farms By Megan Wesche


Pepsico's Part in Perpetuating Environmental Injustices By Yooju Choi


Pour Out Pepsi Art By Natalie Gaffney


Reject Rausser: Resisting the Privatization of a Public Education By Lamiya Gulamhusein


The Food Empowerment Project By Savanah Sturla


Intersectionality in Veganism By Michelle Gunawan


Interview with Transition Berkeley Co-Directors By Dana Sanchez Ortega


Environmental Justice Terms By Sasha Vanley


Resources Pages By POP



Letter from the POP team Dear Reader, The ASUC Department of Unsustainable Partnership is excited to introduce the first ever issue of our zine, Down to Earth! The hardship experienced this past year has been unprecedented. However, the endeavor to create a more just and sustainable world has persisted. Through this issue, we seek to showcase the ongoing resistance and resilience of our community members. Here, we share the stories and voices, as well as the work of those seeking to address issues ranging from food insecurity and environmental racism to the current lack of representation within the environmental community. This is a space to uplift BIPOC voices and voices of marginalized communities at large in the effort to contribute to what it means to truly advocate for environmental justice. Working on this zine and collaborating with so many incredible people has brought us hope during such a difficult time and we hope reading this zine can do that for you too. Yours Sincerely, Pour Out Pepsi


Community Resilience & Food Empowerment During COVID-19 : Food is Free Solano by: Vanessa Lechuga

With COVID-19 exacerbating food insecurity, Heather Pierini created Food is Free Solano to help mitigate food shortages and food inaccessibility issues in her community, originally starting with Benicia. There are four ways that Food is Free Solano works to provide food for the community including: 1) Food is Free Stands 2) Neighborhood built and managed temporary and permanent food stands which aim to address the community's food needs. - Food stands connect neighborhoods, create interest in food access, and encourage people to grow produce to share. 3) Park-It Market - A mobile Park-It Market that brings food directly to neighborhoods. 4) Solano Gleaning Initiative SGI works to divert produce from the waste stream and direct it to Food is Free stands for distribution.


Interview with the founder, Heather Pierini Q: What inspired you to create Food is Free Solano? A: There's an international movement called the Food is Free Project and that project was based out of Austin, Texas, where a guy just convinced a bunch of neighbors to put in raised beds and then give away the food that they grew to their neighborhood. And I followed him for years and I thought it was a really awesome program. I'm involved with a lot of community building groups and everybody who has a garden knows you grow too much. I mean, everything comes right up at the same time and there's no way you can eat it all. Everyone who has a garden typically gives away their food to friends and neighbors and that sort of thing. So, I have had a garden stand for as long as I have had a garden. And this year during the pandemic, I noticed that people were stopping and looking at my little shelf upfront to see if there was any food. I watched it for a few days and realized there's a lot of food insecurity happening and the pandemic is making everything worse. So, I worked with others to set up food stands in Benicia. And then I thought, well, why am I just limiting myself to this town? Why not try and expand a little bit further? Are there ways I can find more food? So, we expanded the stands and a lot of people started up in Vallejo and now we're in Fairfield, Suisun, Vacaville, and Dixon. I started sourcing food from the USDA Farmers to Families program, which brought in truckloads of fresh food boxes. But starting Food is Free Solano was just noticing the food insecurity in my front yard and wanting to do something about it.

Q: How has COVID 19 affected your efforts? A: All of this would not have happened had the majority of the population not been home from the pandemic. I mean, there's no way that the acceleration would have happened like it did if there were not a bunch of volunteers available, if food insecurity wasn't rising at such a huge rate. I mean, there's one in four people in our county that are food insecure. The pandemic is why we exist. Food insecurity is not only about not having enough money to get the food, but also access to the food.

Q: What have been the greatest challenges and successes? A: The greatest challenges are for me, have been learning how to work with government organizations. Before this, I was a stay at home mom. I didn't work outside the home. I have two kids. They have special needs. And so I was working with them and I didn't have a job outside the house. This is not something that's in my background, I have not worked in this area before. I volunteered at lots of different places, but this was not something I had planned on doing. The biggest successes- hitting a million pounds of anything was really amazing. I'm really proud of the people that I have, that I've connected with, the volunteers that we have. I've gotten surrounded by this amazing group of people that are all working towards this common cause of making the world better. And right now, when the world is so awful, I am able to say that I have people that I know are working to make things better and they're doing it not because their religion says they have to, not because their government says they have to, but because their heart says they have to.


Q: How can people support Food is Free Solano? A: My go to response is that you donate food to your nearest food stand or start your own. I advise if you have a fruit tree or a nut tree that you pick what's on it and you donate it directly to the stand that's in your neighborhood.

Q: Advice to folks in other counties wanting to start a similar initiative? A: Reach out and ask. I've called other organizations like The Food is Free Project International. Don't be afraid to ask the people that are doing the work, how they got there, how they're doing it, because most people, if they're doing something like this, it's passion.

Food is Free Solano Spring News:

Has set up 45 food stands throughout Solano County. Distributed over 2 million lbs of food through the USDA Farmers to Families program. Created the South Vallejo Garden Project with Sustainable Solano and Vallejo Project to build, fill and deliver raised garden beds to an area that has experienced food apartheid. Also providing seeds, plants, and instructions on seasonal gardening. Partnered with over 100 local groups to get food out to people in need. Groups as varied as neighbors who deliver to neighbors, groups who cook for the unhoused, groups who deliver to homebound AIDS patients, elderly, those without transportation, etc. Had more than 100 different volunteers help with in-person drive-thru events. Plans to create a food rescue app that will connect all of these groups with available food as well as creating an individual user level and a manufacturing giver level.

For more information: visit: Follow Instagram: @foodisfreesolano


Since childhood, I have frequently attended my local farmer's market. Always savoring the SoCal weather, bustling atmosphere, and, of course, the free samples of mouth-watering fruit. While many farmers know my name, I did not know much about the industry until a few weeks ago when I decided to ask them a few questions. I was happy to interview two farms: Sunny Cal Farms, a fruit vendor at my farmers market, and Tanaka Farms, which runs a small farm stand and conducts agritourism in my hometown - Irvine, California.

Tanaka Farms:

(Interview conducted via email, text copied directly) 1) Why and/ or how did you enter the industry you are in? What do you like about it? Our family has been farming since the early 1940s. Now, we do a lot of agritourism. That is my favorite part about what we do now- strawberry Tours, u-pick operations, pumpkin Patch. 2) How much do you value sustainability, and what do you do to implement it? (irrigation techniques, agroforestry, no-till, etc.) We try to do as much as we can sustainably. We rotate our crops, use cover crops, we are starting to try no-till or less till. 3) How do you maintain soil health? By using cover crops and rotate crops we are trying to maintain the health of the soil 4) How many different crops do you sell? We grow about 65 different fruits and vegetables. 5) About how long does the average crop go from harvest to sale? Anywhere from 60 days to 150 days 6) What kind of seeds do you use? We don't use GMO seeds 7) Where do you sell your produce? We sell out of our produce stand, CSA program, and our tours. 8) I understand that this is often not possible, but do you make an effort to make your fresh produce available to low-income communities? We started a nonprofit to try to get fresh produce to people in need.


Sunny Cal Farms:

(Interview conducted in person, paraphrased) 1) Why and/ or how did you enter the industry you are in? What do you like about it? It is a family business. We enjoy both being outside and the positive impact healthy food has on the community. 2) How much do you value sustainability, and what do you do to implement it? (irrigation techniques, agroforestry, no-till, etc.) Sustainability is extremely important. We try to efficiently minimize waste and donate or compost any food waste produced. 3) What do you do to reduce waste? We compost or donate it. 4) How do you maintain soil health? We use calcium nitrate or compost. 5) How many different crops do you sell? Over 100. 6) About how long does the average crop go from harvest to sale? About 72 hours. 7) What kind of seeds do you use? All trees are 30-70 years old 8) Where do you sell your produce? They sell at 12 different farmer's markets each week. 10) I understand that this is often not possible, but do you make an effort to make your fresh produce available to low-income communities? This is something we would like to think more about. We do take food stamps and donate to local organizations and churches. The environmental impact of small farms is minimal compared to industrial agriculture. Even the UN cites the negative health effects of pesticides, the push to produce cheap, calorie-dense, but nutrient-poor crops such as maize, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions associated with the use of synthetic fertilizers, and increased exposure to zoonotic diseases as significant concerns stemming from industrial farming. The industry, according to some estimates, costs the global economy $33 trillion a year as governments invest in mitigating the negative impact. Clearly supporting farms at farmer's markets and food stands is environmentally and socially beneficial, but, unfortunately, this can be too expensive. Sunny Cal Farms noted that while they frequently talk to students, I was the first to ask about affordability in low-income communities - in order to make fresh, more sustainable, and nutritious produce available to all, work still needs to be done. This includes reducing dependence on large food corporations like PepsiCo. 6

PepsiCo's Part in Perpetuating Environmental Injustices By Yooju Choi PepsiCo’s role in perpetuating environmental injustices can be broken down into three areas: public health, agriculture, and plastic waste. In terms of public health, PepsiCo has been known to spend a large part of their budget on SSBs (sugar sweetened beverages) advertisements that target teens and Black and Hispanic youth. According to the Pour Out Pepsi Final Report, “From 2013 to 2018, PepsiCo more than doubled its Spanish-language ad spending for sugary drinks, increasing its spending from $0.4 million to $17 million...Furthermore, Black teens are reported seeing from 2.2 to 2.3 times as many SSBs ads compared to white teens.” This targeted advertising increases the amount of Black and Hispanic youth who consume SSBs and consequently exacerbates the health disparity that already exists. Additionally, according to a report released in 2020 by the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, 38% of all sugary drink advertisement spending and SSB TV ads viewed by children and 41% of TV ads viewed by teens in 2018 were from PepsiCo. The excessive consumption of SSBs by adolescents raises developmental and health concerns, including “heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases'' (Australian Government Department of Health). PepsiCo’s agriculture has proved to create problems in other countries as well. According to the Pour Out Pepsi Final Report, PepsiCo has used contract farming, “a production agreement between small farmers and transnational corporations for a given crop” (Pour Out Pepsi Final Report), since 1989 with rural Indian farmers. Studies conducted within India show that “contract farming has repeatedly highlighted the ecological impacts from lack of crop diversity, including chronic groundwater depletion throughout the state ” (Pour Out Pepsi Final Report). PepsiCo holds no regard for the state of the land in India and continues to push production that has been proven to be detrimental to the health of the land. PepsiCo also has ties with Latin American countries, where agriculture has worsened the water scarcity despite the severe drought that already exists.


Finally, PepsiCo creates an immense amount of plastic waste that is harmful to lower-income communities. Richer countries like the United States send plastic waste created by companies like PepsiCo to low and middle-income countries, which “causes environmental destruction, sickness, and death” (Laville). An article from The Guardian interviewed 32-year-old Royda Joseph who lives with her family next to the Pugu Kinyamwezi dump in Tanzania. Royda and her children live in close proximity to dump fires, which creates a large amount of dust and flies (Laville). Joseph states that “Sometimes, when it is on fire, the smoke is so dark and huge that you can’t see the person in front of you or the house next to you. Because of that smoke I get breathing problems and coughing, and eye problems too. The kids also get a lot of breathing problems: they cough a lot. When it is really bad, there is no way that you can deal with it without going to the hospital” (Laville). This is clearly an environmental injustice issue in which people in lower-income countries develop health issues because waste is regularly sent to them. Between 400,000 to a million people die every year in these countries because of diseases and health conditions related to plastic waste. Corporations like PepsiCo need to take responsibility for the disposal of their products and they need to develop sustainable packaging that doesn’t just act as a marketing tactic.


By Natalie Gaffney


Reject Rausser: Resisting the Privatization of Public Education An interview with Reject Rausser organizers Varsha Madapoosi and Satchi Thockchom By Lamiya Gulamhusein Reject Rausser is a collective of UC Berkeley students advocating for the removal of the name “Rausser” from the College of Natural Resources (CNR). Gordon Rausser is a former dean of the college; in early 2020 he made a $50 million donation to the college, resulting in its name change.

1) What is Reject Rausser about and what work are you currently engaged in? Varsha: We started with three main goals. The first one is to remove Rausser’s name from the college and that was mainly due to the fact that we believe that his ideals his interests don't exactly align with the student population here in CNR. The second one is to increase transparency on donation and funding allowance, as well as having more student representation in that because there were no students involved in the process. As students of this college, this college is supposed to support us, to serve us as students and the lack of transparency, accountability and representation was really alarming to us. And the third part is more related to the larger privatization of public colleges. What does it mean for someone to donate $50 million and have a name to a college? What does this name symbolize in the future? Will you be able to make decisions for us as a college? What does this mean for the rest of the colleges at UC Berkeley? This movement is about finding ways to address the need for money and the need for increased funding while making sure to acknowledge how we can best utilize it to serve students. Satchi: Adding on to that, the announcement of the name change and donation came during the heart of the wildcat strikes. So the formation of Reject Rausser kind of came out of that chaos and strange juxtaposition of CNR celebrating this massive donation and our GSIs and primary educators protesting in front of sprawl demanding livable wages. And so, a big part of our work is grounding it in marginalized groups within CNR and on campus. Varsha: I would like to also frame our campaign in a healing space. We're just here to talk about things and talk about, first of all, how do students feel about this name change and what does that mean. Yes, we are organizing, yes, we are working, but we're also a community space for us to just come together and discuss.


2) What are your plans for the future? Varsha: So originally we really campaigned hard on the first two goals of removing the name and increasing transparency and representation in the funding acceptance process. However, admin has pushed back a lot and basically has said that they will not change the name despite how many times we go forward and talk about it, so I think right now we're really shifting our focus to work with admin in a sense, so being on the committees and providing our direct feedback and representation in that way, so at least we can have a say in where this money goes. $50 million, we are very thankful for it. We want this to go to increased retention for BIPOC students in CNR, we want this to go to expanding DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) initiatives in CNR and to making sure that students feel comfortable and safe. So we're really focusing on that transparency and accountability aspect, and we are forced to work with admin just because that's how processes work, and we can't change things about working with the existing infrastructure. But, our name hasn't changed, we're still Reject Rausser. That's something we will always fight for and always advocate for.

3)Why is this a campaign that is so important to address and what are the implications of not addressing this now? Satchi: Accepting this deal is not going to solve the issue of how public education is being privatized, in fact, it's going to further incentivize privatization. We have always advocated for increased representation and retention of students of color within environmentalism and it feels like letting Rausser dig his claws deeper and deeper into CSR is just 20 steps in the opposite direction. He has very questionable interests, this honestly feels like an investment plan for his benefit, rather than a philanthropic donation. Many organizers did a lot of research over the summer and dug up a whole lot of very controversial stuff about Rausser and his venture capitalist interests so it's just very concerning. Knowing that our knowledge and our research are not only being used to fuel very controversial environmental exploits but that it is also, in turn, influencing our education is very concerning. The professors that they are using that they are choosing to hire, the different people who hold faculty and Ex Comm, etc positions are very influential. Rausser having donated this much money means that he just has that much more power over CNR and therefore over our education. Varsha: We hope that our movement sets a precedent for future issues like this that may arise. Like Saatchi mentioned, this is just going to open the door for more privatization, whether that's in CNR, or whether that’s outside of CNR and other colleges. It's important to say that if we would have let this go and if we have not addressed this now, CNR would have thought that it was okay to just accept money and not tell anyone and not ask for any representation, especially from students. Showing student frustration, showing students' voice is so important because there are consequences for their actions and they need to realize that. I don't know if the university would have set up Ex Comm or the Faculty Relations Committee if it wasn't for our movement, if it wasn't for students stepping up. They would have just done this all under the covers so now there is some kind of representation for that. We hope that setting this precedent will allow for future name changes to be questioned and for students to have more seat at the table.


4) There has been some push back from and Administration and students who believe that the financial pressures of the school justify naming the college after Rausser- how you would respond to such criticism? Varsha: I think the first thing to address is that there is push back and criticism from students as well. We do not represent all CNR students or what all students feel about the donation. We understand that people are concerned, but I think our main question is why didn't we at least know about this beforehand. The donation acceptance could have happened even if there were students at the table who understood why this was happening, and if they had met with Rausser beforehand and talked to him about why he was donating the money and what the money is going to do. But they didn’t ask us before and now it has caused us harm as students. I think that the financial pressures are a valid reason and I’m not saying that they should not have taken the money, but personally, I question why we weren’t asked, why there wasn’t a town hall. Representation is so important to me and the fact that they just completely ignored us as students is really where I'm coming from personally in this movement. Satchi: Not only did we not know that this was happening, so many students still don't know what's happening with the money. I just found out this week that we won't have access to the money until 2022 and it's not even all the money, so there are many, many complications around the donation that the general community just still doesn't know and that we only know after banging on the admin’s doors for all of the calendar year, after which they gave us handouts of information. So, not only were we not included in this donation acceptance, we are not included in how it's going to be used and that's really problematic. So, again we're really thankful that we have this money but we're justifiably concerned that they're not going to use it to our benefit. Rausser has a lot of investments in big agriculture chemical companies and when he was Dean, he signed a deal with Novartis, a very sketchy pharmaceutical company that harassed one of the only black researchers in CNR. It's a very, very racial and classed issue as well as an environmental justice one. So that much money coming to us without our knowledge and that much money coming from someone with such a problematic reputation with our school and across the country and world is very concerning so that's how I justify our hesitancy and critique of this $50 million donation.

5) Is there anything you want to add or share about your movement? Satchi: Definitely hoping to expand the coalition. We're making it very holistic and, as Varsha said, it's also very grounded in healing and Community building, and visioning. What do we want to do with this money? That's a very beautiful question so just like growing the coalition, getting more people involved, getting more people up to date on what we're working on would be really helpful.

For more information visit: Facebook and Instagram: @rejectrausser

The Food Empowerment Project An interview with the Food Empowerment Project (FEP) founder, Lauren Ornelas

By Savannah Sturla

1) What is the Food Empowerment Project, and why did you create the organization? I'm Mexican, very proudly Mexican, and I was raised by my mom, along with my two sisters. My parents got divorced when I was really young. I'm originally from Texas. I'm first generation on my dad's side and long generation on my mom's side because we were in Texas before it was Texas. I went vegetarian when I was young because I didn't want to be responsible for separating families. I guess my parents getting divorced when I was really little gave me an understanding of the separation of the animals and not wanting to be a part of that. Growing up in Texas, I would see the cows and just didn't want to be responsible for separating their families. I was also raised with an understanding of farmworker justice issues. My mom supported the great boycott started by Larry Itliong and the Filipino workers, as well as César Chávez and Dolores Huerta through the United Farmworkers, so that was always instilled in me. Growing up, we didn't have a lot of money, so even when I wanted to be vegetarian, I couldn't stick with it. I was involved in the anti-apartheid, anti-war, and anti-death penalty movements. I learned about and got involved in animal rights in 1987, which is pretty much when I started looking at that as a direction where I wanted to spend more of my time because it felt like something I had more control over. So, I started my first animal rights group at a high school in Texas and then found other animal rights organizations. I did investigations in factory farms and slaughterhouses and organized many corporate campaigns. I went vegan in 1988, but I still also worked on other social justice issues, primarily farmworker justice issues. In 2006, I spoke at the World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela, where I saw a lot of people who looked like me who were interested in all sorts of justice issues-- water privatization, unions, immigration issues, and the environment. I was there to speak about the connection between animal agriculture, the animals, the workers, and the environment, but when I was there, there were so many other issues I was passionate about and I realized that, even though I've been working for various animal rights organizations, I didn't feel quite satisfied anymore. Backing up to around 2002, I learned about the use of slavery and child labor in the chocolate industry, and I knew I couldn't look at chocolate the same way again.


So in my personal life, I started to stop buying all chocolate and eating chocolate. When I became aware of this, I started talking more about it in animal rights circles. During this time, there was also a possibility of a boycott called by farmworkers for strawberries, so I started talking about more of these issues while I was running a vegan animal rights organization. I started receiving a lot of pushback for it. Vegans told me I was hurting the animals by talking about these issues. So, I decided I would start my own organization, which was the Food Empowerment Project, which basically looks at all these issues and shows how they're connected. Our four primary areas are veganism, farmworker justice, transparency in the chocolate industry, and lack of access to healthy foods in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. Although our work, so far, has primarily been in Black and brown communities. We've been around since 2007, and that's who we are.

2) Where might you find your balance in terms of individual action and feeling responsibility individually, but also the larger faults of corporation, industry, and capitalist extractivism? We don't think that it's just about a person's individual choices. You can't just say, “Oh I don't believe in this, so I'm not going to eat it." It goes beyond that. If we are in solidarity with farmworkers, we need to speak to those corporations who are exploiting farmworkers and saying, in solidarity with what they're asking for, that we're going to be boycotting your company. So, it goes much beyond just what we eat, it goes back to our actions and what it is that we do, how we act out, and how we need to demand a better system. The current food system was never made to benefit Black, Brown or Indigenous people. It was made to thrive off of our exploitation and death. So, we need to look at the situation and say we want something different. We can't repeat the current model, no matter if it's plant-based or not.

3) What are some current projects and campaigns that you want to highlight that FEP is working on? Well, one of the campaigns we're working on, and we have been for several years, which we would love to have more support on, is our current campaign against Safeway. Currently, our work is in Vallejo, which is not too far from Berkeley. There was a Safeway located downtown, which is where predominately Black, Brown, and seniors are living. The Safeway moved miles away from that location and when they left they put what's called a restrictive deed on their former property. That restricted deed prohibited any grocery store from moving into that community for 15 years, depriving that community of having access to healthy foods. We know that this is taking place not just here in California. This is currently happening in Washington state, where there’s a farmworker community, and they are deliberately hurting the health of communities. So we have a petition on our website that we're asking people to sign and share. But also, when we can move freely out and about, we will be asking people to return in front of Safeway with our petition and with our leaflets and signs, demanding that Safeway end this harmful practice.


4) How is environmental justice, environmental racism and food justice or food sovereignty centered in FEP’s work in the Bay Area? We follow environmental justice principles. We don't go into communities to tell them what to do, like the work we're currently doing in Vallejo. We were asked by one of the founding members of the Black Panther Party, David Hilliard, to take a look at what was happening in Vallejo, and to see if what we were finding there was an environmental injustice. I consider the lack of access to healthy foods to be part of the environmental justice movement. We're talking about where we live, where we play, where we pray, and where we go to school, and it is also about the foods that we have access to. We follow these principles; we go where we're asked, and we want to make clear that the lack of access to healthy food is pretty much determined by the color of your skin. Our work in the Bay Area is looking at those issues and at the fact that we have many farmworkers who live in this area as well, who are predominantly brown. So when you look at farmworker justice issues, to me that's a form of environmental injustice that's taking place, when you have one portion of the population who's more impacted by these horrific agricultural chemicals, as well as bad working conditions, wage theft, and unbelievable practices that take place that many other workers never experience.

5) How have you changed your work to address certain aspects where folks are disproportionately affected by the pandemic? I think that we've had to do this in part by what we talk about. When I give talks now, it's about what farmworkers go through, but then you add the pandemic and the wildfires as well. With a pandemic, we look at the fact that so many farmworkers have such high rates of COVID. Why is it then in a community like Sonoma County, where we used to be based, the Latinx community was not even 30% of the population, but were over 60% of those who had a COVID diagnosis? The fact is that there are farmworkers who are still living in dormitories with bunk beds. Farmworkers don't make a lot of money, so a lot of them live with many people in a household. They travel together, and they work next to each other. So, it's changed in how we've had to talk about that issue. When you look at lack of access to healthy foods, ironically it's kind of something that I've encouraged people to think about, how during the pandemic many people went to the grocery store for the first time and couldn't find what they were looking for. Yet, that's what people who lack access to healthy foods go through on a regular basis. When you look at the fires, Sonoma County had farmworkers working in mandatory evacuation zones, even though they were deemed such a risk that the community and people who live there were evacuated. Yet, the grape and wine industry still allowed their workers to go into those areas and work. Again, not really caring about the lives of the farmworkers whatsoever, but putting profit over the health of the people. So all of these things have changed in how we talk about it and how we hope that people will look at these issues differently. Farmworkers, grocery store workers, fast food workers, and restaurant workers were all deemed essential. Yet, when it came down to more pay, paid sick time, and the vaccine, somehow they weren't considered as essential anymore.


6) How can students get involved with and support FEP? We always take volunteers. We have a volunteer form on our website. If anybody wants to intern with us, we're very careful about not wanting to exploit labor. So, we will only allow internships if you're getting school credit because at this point in time we can't pay for interns, but we do not want to exploit labor. So, we want to make sure you're getting school credit for it. Sharing and liking our work on social media helps as well. We're on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. If students wanted to support our campaign against Safeway and look into our resources on purchasing chocolate that does not use slavery or child labor, that would be magnificent.

7) Is there anything else you would like to share? I would just say that I know that a lot of these issues can be overwhelming, but to try to look at them as opportunities to create positive change in the world. I feel like your generation is so important. Some of us have been working on this stuff our whole lives, but we couldn't change everything, but your generation, so far, is doing a remarkable job of really taking a stand against injustices that are taking place, from the Me Too movement, to guns in schools and more. Recognize the power that you have and keep pushing to build a better world, because we need you to do it, and we'll be right here with you.

To read the full interview click here For more information visit:


Intersectionality in Veganism By Michelle Gunawan

At first glance, veganism―the abstinence from the exploitation and consumption of animals―may not seem to have racial intersections. However, the vegan movement is greatly divided between white and POC (people of color) communities. The consistent neglect and exclusion of POC and their rights within veganism hinders the movement’s ability to move forward to a truly cruelty-free world.

WHITE VEGANISM With the popularization of veganism, we have also witnessed the way in which the movement has been co-opted by the Global North to center white voices. When searching for the most prominent vegan celebrities or chefs, one often finds lists of exclusively white figures. White vegans have come to shape a new form of veganism, which, although advocates for animal rights and environmentalism, decenters the voices of vegans of color, whose practices are which the diet was founded upon. As such, white veganism overlooks the other intersectional and human rights issues. The trend has become dependent on privilege and high income, ignoring obstacles like food insecurity and food deserts that POC communities disproportionately face. It also prioritizes animal lives over other issues without acknowledging the colonial dimensions intrinsic to animal exploitation.

RACIAL CONFLICTS IN WHITE VEGANISM The vegan movement has frequently facilitated racial conflict, but the rise of the 2020 BLM protests sparked a large revival of criticism towards current mainstrean veganism. Many white vegans made parallels between the struggles of Black people and animals, essentially degrading the systemic oppression that the Black community has faced to that of animals. Such comparisons were drawn during the heat of the BLM protests, using the Black rights movement to further their own agenda. White veganism has a pattern of equating human lives to animal lives as a way of overlooking racism in our society. Racial issues are ignored and pleas to advocate for the dismantlement of systems of oppression are dismissed. By repeatedly disregarding the voices of BIPOC, white veganism has perpetuated an air of exclusivity and ignorance that discourages and isolates BIPOC communities.


THEFT OF POC CUISINE The modern wave of veganism emerged in the mid to late 1900s―but BIPOC cultures have had vegan practices rooted in their cultures for centuries. Chia seeds, tofu, jackfruit, and other “trendy” staples of vegan diets originate from the traditional cuisines of BIPOC communities. However, most have been stripped of their cultural identities and rebranded as “clever” vegan substitutes. Not only does this erase BIPOC contributions to the vegan movement, but it also greatly popularizes ingredients that are central to the subsistence of their original communities. The high demand raises the prices of these foods, making them less accessible and affordable to those that may depend on them. One of the most notable examples is the quinoa trade. Quinoa had long been a nutritious, staple grain for the lower-class of Bolivia & Peru. Now that the grain is a trendy vegan ingredient, the demand and prices for it have skyrocketed to the point where poorer Bolivians and Peruvians can no longer afford it, turning to cheap junk food instead. The land’s once diverse crops were also reduced to monocultures of quinoa, damaging the environment. The physical and environmental health of these people and their land are thus sacrificed for vegans of privilege. Furthermore, white vegans have made attempts to “veganize” BIPOC cuisine. Cook books and blogs written by white people have capitalized off of BIPOC by making vegan recipes of foods from cultures they do not belong to, ranging from Chinese, Mexican, and African-American cuisines.

POC BARRIERS TO VEGANISM Many POC face barriers that prevent them from adopting vegan practices. As we have seen throughout this article, some of these issues are indirectly facilitated by white people, and are sometimes completely dismissed for the sake of animal-related issues. Wealth plays a significant role in one’s ability to transition into veganism. Black and Hispanic communities disproportionately suffer from poverty in California and the US as a whole. This often means that they are more likely to face challenges when making a lifestyle change as dramatic as veganism and, in turn, consider certain aspects of a meat-based diet more financially feasible. In addition, food deserts are more likely to be located in POC communities. Examples of food deserts in the Bay area include Richmond and West Oakland. These are typically lowerincome neighborhoods with limited access to healthy foods and are instead surrounded by a large number of unhealthy food sources, such as fast-food restaurants and convenience stores. Consequently, many POC face an inherently lowered access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and other vegan food options. The disparities in food access and environmental justice issues that many POC suffer from must be acknowledged.


MOVING FORWARD How can the modern-day veganism movement improve and become more inclusive of POC? Black VegFest, a Black-led group that advocates for Black vegans, made a list of “7 Points of Allyship” during the BLM protests of 2020; each point highlights calls for the white vegan community to support Black lives. The first point asks to “apply vegan ethics of compassion” to Black lives, emphasizing the idea that if white vegans can express empathy for animals, they should be able to do the same for other non-white humans. Another point demands that White vegan media/press stop “using Black lives” to promote their own agendas and “White cultural progression.” Vegan intersectionality and allyship cannot be achieved when racist propaganda and white supremacy prevail. While Black VegFest’s “7 points of Allyship” are specific to the Black community, several points, like those above, can certainly be extended to all POC. The vegan movement must reckon with the intersectionalities it has with race and social justice issues, and dismantle the implicit white supremacy it upholds. It is only in this way that we can work towards a more just and equitable world.


Transition Berkeley: An Interview With the Co-Directors

By Dana Sanchez Ortega The Transition Movement is a network of imaginative and locally focused Initiatives that address current challenges of resource depletion, climate change and economic instability through community inspiration and engagement (Transition Berkeley).

1. What does environmental justice mean to you? Bonnie: Rights of nature and ecosystems must be represented by those familiar with protecting these ecosystems, (rivers, oceans, forests, prairies) and have foremost consideration in making decisions about the food, water, and energy resources we use as humans. Fair distribution of these resources for human use needs to be made with an understanding of resource limits and wise use (conservation) of the resources. Linda: To me, environmental justice means that everyone has a seat at the table, especially low-income and people of color when it comes to considering the environmental impacts and benefits of various laws and industries. Too often the wealthy citizens and countries benefit financially from capitalism, while less wealthy BIPOC suffer the consequences from extractive industries and pollution. I think of our neighboring communities in Richmond, who live in the shadow of the Chevron refinery. Many of the residents have a high incidence of asthma, cancer, and other health issues.

2. What is something about Transition Berkeley that someone could not learn by just visiting the website and reading over the information? Bonnie: Transition Berkeley is extremely grassroots and most work is done by a small group of volunteers, with the belief that small acts of mutual understanding and responsibility have a larger impact. Linda: Transition Berkeley weighs in with our city government about issues related to creating more healthy and resilient neighborhoods throughout town. We have been very active in the last year creating and piloting an Essential Repair Training Class for high school and college students. We also have lots of opportunities for citizens to get involved in our project to plant Pollinator Gardens in public parks and school grounds throughout the city. We also have had a focus on reducing single-use plastics. We are happy to help people and groups launch their own efforts to green our city.


3. Explain how the right of repair is related to environmental justice Bonnie: Where I grew up in northwestern Ohio, there was a large municipal landfill less than 1/2 mile from where we lived. Also on the corner was a tv and radio repair shop. A mile away in the other direction, was an auto junkyard. My father repaired his own car and would get parts to fix household items from the landfill and junkyard. Some years later the landfill was closed, fenced with barbed wire and “hazard” warning signs were put up. My early observations were that our waste items are disposed of and dumped out of most people’s sight, but in somebody’s backyard. As I grew up “big box” stores opened close by. Items sold in those became cheaper and more disposable. The repair shop closed, as more people would just buy a new tv instead of fixing a broken one. So, there are at least two ways I relate the right to repair to environmental justice. Someone somewhere must deal with our disposed of items. The more toxic the waste, the further out of sight it is put, so the burden is on those working and living near the waste facilities. Secondly, people who do repairs are undervalued as it became cheaper and more fashionable to replace rather than repair things, and parts became less standard and available, forcing more consumption. Linda: Too often our waste ends up in the poorest communities around the globe. I've seen films and images of children picking through toxic e-waste in India without gloves or protective gear. Right to Repair laws would help keep a lot of waste from landfills in these situations by providing parts and support for items that break to be repaired, thus keeping these items in use, rather than being dumped in poor communities.

4. From what you know, how does the sourcing of materials for our electronics have led to violation of human rights in other countries? Bonnie: My knowledge is somewhat limited to documentaries and articles I have read. What I have learned from these sources, is that human rights violations are present in much of the electronic manufacturing process from mining the materials used, to disassembling the electronic parts for waste or recycling. Mining and processing cobalt, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals involve being exposed to toxic materials for long periods of time. In countries where wages are low and protective measures are not enforced, exposure to the toxins causes severe health issues, especially where laws against child labor may not exist. The processing may affect local water and land sources, which is another human rights violation. Violations in using prisoners to assemble electronics have been another human rights issue along with a lack of proper training in handling potentially toxic materials, or ventilation in assembly plants. Unsafe handling of used electronics can result in harm to human health and the environment. There are problems with open-air burning and acid baths being used to recover valuable materials from electronic components, exposing workers to harmful substances. There are also problems with toxic materials leaching into the environment. These practices can expose workers and residents to high levels of contaminants such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic, which can lead to irreversible health effects, including cancers, miscarriages, and neurological damage.


5. Why do companies make it challenging to be able to fix your own things? Bonnie: To make higher profits is the simple answer. Linda: Our capitalistic system is based on consumers, like us, buying more so the companies and shareholders can show a profit. It's based on an endless growth economy and doesn't consider earth's limited resources. Companies won't be able to sell us more stuff and make more money, if they make it easier for us to fix our own things.

6. What are some tips you would give to people that might not feel comfortable/confident to start repairing their own stuff Bonnie: Curiosity and repeated practice are important. Have patience with yourself, mistakes are part of the learning process. If you are afraid you may break your item, start on something you care less about until your confidence builds. Finding the resources to help you learn is becoming easier. You can go to the IFixit website, for “Repair guides for everything, written by everyone”, or, to learn about repairing electronics. If you learn better from a live one-on-one experience, join a Repair Café or Fixit Clinic to work with repair coaches. The Repair Coaches build confidence by asking questions and providing information in a nonjudgmental manner and letting you do the fixing yourself. Linda: If there are Repair Cafes or Fixit Clinics where you live, try going to one with your broken items and get help from a repair coach. You can also join the Virtual Fixit Clinic to watch and learn how to repair or bring something you need coaching to repair. Pick something you care about and look for help from someone you know or look online. A few of my neighbors are happy to help me fix just about anything and they also have tools I can borrow. You can also try out tools at the Tool Lending Lilbrary if you live in Berkeley. There are great youtube videos and repair sites out there to help you like

For more information visit:


Environmental Justice Terms By Sasha Vanley

1. Food insecurity

According to the USDA, food insecurity is defined as, “the disruption of food intake or eating patterns because of lack of money and other resources.” A study conducted by the Economic Research Service concluded that 13.7 million U.S. households experienced food insecurity in the year 2019. The materialization of food insecurity must not always cause hunger as it can transpire as reduced quality of diet as well as quantity. This phenomenon disproportionately affects marginalized groups. Government studies found that in 2016, 22.5% of black non-Hispanic households were found to be food insecure, almost double the national rate. In addition, disabled peoples are at higher risk of food insecurity as a result of medical expenses and reduced employment opportunities that lead to a reduced available food income. Consequences of food insecurity may include increased risk of cognitive problems, heightened risk of diabetes as well as hypertension, and negative mental health impacts including anxiety and depression. This problem has intersectional manifestations as food insecurities are connected to other issues such as the lack of affordable housing, low minimum wage, and high medical costs.

2. Food sovereignty

A term was coined by La Via Campesina, this is a global movement of peasants, small & medium-sized producers, landless, women, indigenous people, rural youth & agricultural workers. Food sovereignty is “the right of people to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.” It emphasizes food not as a private commodity but as a public good. In this aspect, it necessitates an open conversation between all parties and centers the voices of producers, notably small-scale, local farmers. In this sense, it requires that all resources are shared equitably including land, seeds, and water in an attempt to localize food systems and reduce food waste largely caused by the sizable distance between the providers and consumers of food. Seed sovereignty seeks to diminish the monopolizing power of corporations on food in an effort to protect the integrity of food. The Lexicon of Sustainability defines seed sovereignty as “The farmer’s right to breed and exchange diverse open source seeds which can be saved and which are not patented, genetically modified, owned or controlled by emerging seed giants.” This movement seeks to eliminate corporate giants such as Monsanto that have endangered environmental sustainability and human health through the use of illegal toxins as well as attacked local farmers rights in their conquest of pesticide and seed dominance. 23

3. Food desert vs. Food Apartheid

Food deserts are regions where residents have reduced access to supermarkets and grocery stores, but typically have greater access to fast-food chains. These regions can also be generally defined by the lack of affordable fresh foods. However, this term makes the problem of food deserts appear as a geographical problem alone. Karen Washington coined the term “food apartheid” to greater encompass the reality of systematic discrimination in the distribution of food. Historical redlining policies have directly led to the limited access to nutritious foods in BIPOC communities. In this way, the term “desert” is misleading. This diction implies that it is within the community that is lacking and that regions have brought food disparities upon themselves due to lack of initiative. The reality is that these communities are lively and resilient in their response to their disadvantageous circumstances. Moreover, deserts are a naturally occurring ecosystem, while food apartheids are exceedingly unnatural and the direct product of governmental discriminatory policies. Describing food apartheids as desert runs the risk of eliminating the responsibility of the government to resolve issues they themselves have fostered.

4. Greenwashing

Greenwashing is an attempt to use environmental advertising to boost sales. This practice commonly surfaces in our daily consumer lives as exaggerated sustainability and eco-friendliness claims utilized on the labeling of goods. However, especially in the U.S., these environmental claims are not well regulated. The Federal Trade Commission is the governmental organization responsible for maintaining the integrity of advertising in order to protect the public from misleading or false claims. The Green Guides are their set of guidelines relating to environmental advertising, but modern advertising has evolved towards the proliferation of the utilization of new “eco” claims that are not outlined within the current restrictions. This directly impacts food literacy by generating public confusion and reducing the ability of consumers to make informed decisions. Words such as “all-natural,” “non-toxic,” or “biodegradable” are examples of greenwashing terms that are vague and unregulated by the FDA. In an effort to combat greenwashing, many groups have synthesized databases that investigate the validity of the green labels on products. Examples of these databases can be found at <> as well as <>, which include “report cards'' for many different products. Here you will also find information on the labels you may commonly see food packaging. For example, the Fair Trade Certified™ label ensures customers that their products meet their standards of supporting businesses that guarantee safe working conditions, environmental protection, sustainable livelihoods, as well as community development funds.


Free Food!

CalFresh onlin e application @Townfridgefree food fridge s in Oakland UC Berkeley Fo od Pantry @uc bfoodpantry fo r stock updates/ hours click here for m ore informatio n Berkeley Food Network Mobile pantry at the Berkeley Technical Academy and Berkeley High School Alameda Coun ty Community Fo od Bank https://www.a od/

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Mental Health Walk-in service at Berkeley Mental Health's Adult Clinic (1521 University Avenue) is available 10am-1pm Monday-Thursday. We are open by phone 10am-5pm MondayFriday for crisis intervention, referrals, and screening for mental health treatment: (510) 981-5244. For emergencies, call 911. For crises outside of these hours, call the 24-hour crisis line at (800) 309-2131. 24/7 Crisis Text Line Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime. Crisis Text Line is here for any crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds, all from our secure online platform. The volunteer Crisis Counselor will help you move from a hot moment to a cool moment.


COVID vaccine info COVID-19 vaccines are free to everyone and being offered to different groups in stages, based on State guidelines. Every Californian 16 and older will be eligible to be vaccinated starting April 15, 2021.

Save the Shellmounds Help protect this 5700 year old sacred Ohlone site Donate to the West Berkeley Shellmound Legal Defense Fund at Get connected! @savetheshellmounds on Instagram @savetheshellmounds on Facebook @wbshellmound on Twitter Check your eligibility and schedule appointments at many vaccination sites, including the Oakland Coliseum online at or by calling 1-833422-4255.

People’s Park Protect sovereign land and community green space A brief history of People’s Park Please email and, or call the offices of the chancellor (510-642-7464) and regents, to voice your support for People’s Park Sign up for Text Alerts: SAVETHEPARK to 74121 Venmo: pparkberk Follow on Instagram @peoplesparkberkeley


Bibliography PepsiCo's Part in Perpetuating Environmental Injustices by Yooju Choi Department of Unsustainable Partnerships, Research Committee. “Pour Out Pepsi Final Report.” Accessed April 3, 2021. “Fact Sheet - What Are the Effects of Consumption of High Sugar Drinks?” Department of Health | Fact Sheet - What Are the Effects of Consumption of High Sugar Drinks?, Sept. 2014, Laville, Sandra. “Coca-Cola and Pepsi Falling Short on Pledges over Plastic – Report.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 21 Apr. 2020, PepsiCo, Inc. Official Website. “PepsiCo Partners to Design Recyclable Paper Bottles.” Accessed October 31, 2020.


In Solidarity, The Department of Unsustainable Partnerships Pour Out Pepsi

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