The Solution of Food Literacy

Categories: Power Of Literacy

Food insecurity is a big problem among college students as some are uncertain of when their next meal will be. This causes health problems such as obesity, diabetes, anxiety, and depression. A recent study reported that 42% of UC students suffered from food insecurity (Watson 131). The Global Food Initiative’s “Food and Housing Security at the University of California” is a report created to recognize the food insecurity problem at UC campuses. It states possible solutions to the problem, which include providing basic needs and food literacy programs, raising student awareness, funding for research, and establishing partnerships with state and other UC programs.

One of the GFI’s ideas for addressing food insecurity on campus is to spread food literacy. Food literacy involves planning, choosing, preparing, and eating food. Since diet quality depends on both the individual and the environment, people use food literacy to explore their environment and improve their lifestyle (Watson 131). According to the GFI, research has often shown food literacy as requiring more attention (Brown 43).

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One way the GFI plans to spread food literacy is by organizing workshops and training sessions on topics such as financial aid packages, the preparation of healthy meals, and budgeting (Brown 43).

The idea of addressing food literacy to counter food insecurity on campus has great potential. According to the Berkeley Food Institute’s Hungry for Change, Ruben Canedo believes that students should learn how to manage college finances before going to college (Henry 36). Once they’re in college, students must adopt food skills. Canedo believes that there should be workshops that teach students how to budget, afford meals, buy groceries, cook healthy food, and maximize available resources (Henry 36).

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This is a somewhat strong idea because students don’t know much about these topics. Additionally, not only would these topics apply during college, but also after college. However, I don’t believe that food literacy workshops would completely solve the problem of food insecurity on campus. A great part of this problem is the limited amount of resources available to students. How would food literacy workshops help if students don’t have enough money or food in which they could implement the skills they would be learning?

In another case, to help with the GFI’s understanding of food literacy, Tyler D. Watson, Hannah Malan, Deborah Glik, and Suzanna M. Martinez conducted multiple focus group interviews across four student subpopulations at UCLA in 2017. Themes around food literacy included existing knowledge and skills, learning in dining halls, desire for workshops, unmet student needs, and doubt over the university’s commitment toward food security. Once again, the results suggested that food insecurity could be solved through food literacy (Watson 130). Although I believe it was a great idea to conduct this study, the fact that they interviewed only 82 out of the over thirty thousand students on campus may have produced inaccurate results. It would’ve been better if they would’ve interviewed more students and conducted the same study at an additional UC campus, one in a less economically stable town, such as UC Davis. Results from these studies would’ve been more likely to cause the GFI to take further action and develop better solutions for the food insecurity problem.

In the end, although I believe that spreading food literacy could help fight against food insecurity, I don’t believe that it will completely solve the problem. Therefore, the GFI should not focus solely on food literacy. No matter how much one knows about food, if they don’t have any, there’s no point in knowing about it.

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The Solution of Food Literacy. (2021, Oct 14). Retrieved from

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