Food Day Blog Series: What does it look like to become invested in the real food movement?

September 14, 2011

Jessica Baltmanas is a guest blogger from University of California, San Diego and also a Campus Coordinator for Food Day! Below is the first of a three part blog series leading up to October 24 in which she will walk us through her journey in the real food movement. 

My journey into real food began at the age of 5. While my parents moved from Brooklyn to San Diego by car, my sister and I stayed with our grandparents in Vilnius, Lithuania. My grandparents had a farm house and garden, and I had the experience of pulling a carrot out of the earth. This is one of my most memorable early experiences and the root to which I trace my participation in the real food movement.

Once I started my studies at the University of California, San Diego, I began looking for the opportunity to grow my own food. With help from others, I was able to get funding and approval for a garden in Earl Warren College. Earl's Garden celebrated opening day on November 17 of 2010. The challenge of getting design approval was intense because there was a lack of trust of permaculture principles, but we succeeded!

Jessica Baltmanas in front of Earl's Garden on its opening day.

I also began working as the sustainability coordinator for University Centers (our Student Union) in November of 2009 and found myself on a journey of getting more real food in our 17 food locations ranging from Burger King to a Food Co-op to a locally owned Indian restaurant. Talk about a challenge. I've found it most difficult to understand how purchasing works and helping people understand the importance of changing their purchasing practices. With two more years to go, I hope the progress continues!

I am also helping to plan Food Day on my campus and a simple goal of mine is that my community will wake up to the realities of the modern day food system and become inspired to change it to be based off sustainable methods.