In spring, 2017, Dr. Mark Cohan's university core class, Sociology of Food, partnered with Seattle-based Northwest Harvest, a non-profit food bank distributor, to help them promote a conference they planned to host. Through research and personal interviews, the students helped create a video to help promote a national conference, Closing the Hunger Gap: From Charity to Solidarity. The goal of the 2017 conference was to move hunger relief organizations toward strategies that promote social justice and address the root causes of hunger, using the lens of racial and economic equity.
Dr. Cohan's students studied the structural forces, from international economic dynamics to institutional racism, that cause hunger and limit access to whole, healthy food, particularly in poorer communities of color. They also learned about the food justice movement, which seeks to address these problems in ways that depend on the leadership, insights, and voices of those in these marginalized communities.
The students then conducted video interviews with food bank managers and other professionals in the emergency food system with a focus on what food justice means and how they can foster it. The students completed interviews of 20 to 40 minutes in length, then edited them down to 10 to 15 minute highlights as their final projects.
Over the summer, a Northwest Harvest staff member edited the videos into the professional, promotional video to use in promoting the conference, which occurred in early September.
Northwest Harvest is the only nonprofit food bank distributor operating statewide in Washington with a network of 375 food banks, meal programs and high-need schools. Through this network, we provide more than 2 million meals every month.