After interviewing my fellow food warrior, Michele Moses, I discovered we have much more in common than just our name. First off, we live within 20 minutes of each other! We are both 19, spend our days studying away in college, come from an urban city (she’s from NYC, I’m from here in Chicago)… yet somehow we are both passionate about getting to know the food we eat on an up-close and personal level. Or as Michele puts it, she wants to become “closer to the source,” and bring others there with her.
Michele’s interest in food transparency was sparked when, in college, she experienced the helplessness of cafeteria eating. I can definitely relate – the only food source I’ve ever known in a cafeteria is a big metal container! However, Michele cites this helplessness as one of the things that motivates her to find out more about her food.
Living in a city and being constrained to a college cafeteria doesn’t stop Michele from striving to attain this goal. Over the past month she got involved in a community garden on Northwestern’s campus in Evanston (where she studies journalism), and that experience “really working in the dirt” made her realize that even farmers markets are distanced from the actual work and growth involved in producing the food we eat. She mentioned the Union Square Green Market in the heart of New York City as “a strange juxtaposition.” I know what she meant, being from Chicago – like she said, seeing the freshly grown food in the middle of a bustling city is such a beautiful thing, but it’s sometimes so funny to look at! In that way, even farmers markets can feel distanced, which is why Michele recognizes the amount of work it will take to really reach the source and get close to it.
I think Michele’s journalism experience and intense drive to get her voice heard are the perfect combination in approaching the challenge of food transparency. Just last week she co-founded a literary magazine at Northwestern called Margin Magazine, envisioning a place for students to write in a personal, literary, reflective style – rather than just campus news. She was also on the board of an organization called Challah for Hunger, where students would bake challah bread (yum!) and donate the proceeds to people suffering in Darfur. Just those examples alone made it clear to me that Michele will go far in bringing food transparency to the table, and not just for fellow cafeteria-goers. As the internship goes on and she learns more about our food industry, Michele (in conjunction with Real Time Farms) hopes to become a good resource for all types of people, to ensure that “eating ethically and sustainably can be effective for everyone.”
I can’t wait to meet her in person!