Food is an essential element of life; after all, it is the fuel that keeps us going. Food plays a meaningful part in many of our holidays and celebrations. Even on Yom Kippur, where we are forbidden to eat, people understand the power food has over us. We spend so much time in our day deciding what to eat. With something so integral to our daily life, it makes sense to have a course on the very diverse aspects of food, the food industry and its role in society. Next year, the Social Studies department will be adding the elective course “Food and Justice for All”. The class will be taught by Ms. Elizabeth Kattler, Judaic Studies teacher. The course will not only be practical, but relevant to the students’ daily lives.
According to Kattler, “The wrapper on the package or the sticker on the fruit only tells us part of the story.”
Kattler recognizes how little students actually know about where their food comes from. Some of the topics to be covered include how factory farms dominate food production, how food scientists create America’s favorite foods, and how laboratories create textures and flavors that cater to consumer preferences. The class will also cover food deserts, food instability, and food industry advertisements. It is Kattler’s goal that the students “[learn] about all types of food, where it comes from, who has access to it, how it’s made, how it’s advertised to consumers, what economic factors influence what we buy, where certain food is sold, sustainability, food insecurity, the organic movement, and food justice.” The course will also feature a variety of guest speakers and field trips.
Food and Justice For All will give students an opportunity to work in Milken’s Urban Farm. They will be devoting a few Sundays during the semester to get their hands dirty while gardening. According to Katter, Milken recently received an innovation grant that will allow the garden to expand its size. All of the extra food grown will be donated to local food pantries. The students’ work will be rewarded with community service hours.
Students should be at least in their sophomore year in order to be admitted into the class.