Martin County, Florida, my home for 16 years, is the embodiment of contradiction. It is rich with beautiful beaches and home to many of the nation’s wealthiest, yet is comprised of some of the highest percentages of migrant workers and human traffickers in the country. As I strolled through the hallways at my high school, this disparity in socio-economic status was strikingly apparent. Many of my classmates and their families subsisted on subminimum wage agricultural labor and were often marginalized within society. Through my unique upbringing, as well as my experiences writing public health and food safety legislation and advocating within our political system, organizing with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, managing a soup kitchen, launching a food waste awareness project, living a vegan lifestyle, and, most recently, starting a social venture to tackle food waste and insecurity, it has become vividly clear to me that we are all connected to a deep-rooted supply chain, especially within our industrial food system. With every purchase we make and every bite we take, we are choosing to either promote justice or to perpetuate exploitation. As an Environmental Studies concentrator pursuing the Land, Water & Food Security track, I am actively striving to incorporate my deep understanding of the implications of our industrial food system both on the environment and on society. I am working to employ my knowledge in order to give voice to those who are most at risk of climate change and environmental injustices.
I look forward to expanding my knowledge and first-hand experiences in local food systems throughout the Fellowship and anticipate the Fellowship will serve as an important foundation for my future educational and career goals. In addition to pursuing an AB in Environmental Studies, I am also working to receive a certificate in the Engaged Scholars program in order to participate in another “high-impact learning experience and collaborative educational partnership that addresses major social challenges and produces tangible public benefits.” I plan to study abroad through the experiential, field-based School for International Training’s Rethinking Food Security: Agriculture, People, and Politics program. After Brown, I foresee joining Green Corps to further my engaged educational experience prior to attending graduate school and committing my career to promoting environmental justice and sustainability.