Category: Kristen Kozar

Pittsburgh, PA: Food Security Issues in response to Covid-19

A Story in Maps: COVID-19

Story in the city paper about local response to covid-19 and covers how school lunches will be distributed.

Food Bank resources

Mapping resource for the city/ county

Response to Li Ziqi



References #2- Community Gardens

On Wednesday, Anna, Meddy, and I met with Brenda Landis in the media center. During our conversation, Brenda provided us with links to a past student project that features local community gardens, though not all of the gardens in the video are still active. However, this discussion in combination with the video provided insight about community stakeholders to reach out to, and possible formatting and structure ideas for our own video.

Furthermore, Brenda provided us with a link to this video about urban farming in Baltimore. Perhaps this can contribute to one of our case studies. Ideally, we hope to interview a diverse range of individuals as demonstrated in this video.

Community Gardening- References/ Annotations

For my part of the research project, I will be investigating the issue of inclusivity in relation to community gardens and will find case studies where local government initiatives helped to implement or support gardening.

T.D. Glover et al. “Association, Sociability, and Civic Culture: The Democratic Effect of Community Gardening”. Leisure Sciences, 2005. Accessed February 20, 2020.

In this article, the authors discuss how community gardening contributes to democratic values. The authors quote De Tocqueville, a political philosopher who believed that voluntary associations foster contributions to civic engagement. Additional benefits from this type of contribution can lead to increased political participation, displaying empathy for others, and whether a leader or not within the garden, the individuals volunteering exhibit leadership skills and responsibilities. Furthermore, voluntary associations produce developmental effects because they cultivate individual autonomy. In a community garden, individuals are working together towards a common goal of improving their community. In the process, they are sharing resources, seeds, materials, etc. For many, the experience of gardening serves as a powerful example of how to become an active member within your own community.

White, Monica. “Sisters of the Soil: Urban Gardening as Resistance in Detroit”. Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts, vol. 5, no.1., Indiana University Press, 2011. Accessed February 20, 2020.

This article analyzes a group of black women activists who participate in urban gardening and agriculture as a way to reclaim personal power and a sense of agency over their food choices. The setting is Detroit which as a whole is struggling with poverty related challenges due to the decline of industry and a shrinking middle class. Nationally, African American majority communities live on average 1.1 miles further from a supermarket. Community gardens have been an initiative to develop community food security which is defined as “all community residents [ability to] obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance and social justice” (15). In Detroit, there is a specific group of women in the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network that use gardening as a form of political agency. Through this opportunity, the women are not only able to help feed their families, but are also able to serve as change agents within their communities.

What I learned- Professor Vooris Lecture

Today’s readings and Professor’s Vioori’s lecture through the lens of queer and feminist foodways exposed me to a topic that I was previously unfamiliar with, particularly the connection between veganism/vegetarianism and the LGBTQ community.

In regards to the comics, I did not initially think of the potluck and outdoor wedding in terms of using this as a means to save money, possibly due to lack of familial support, and to break away from the traditional norms associated with most heterosexual weddings (i.e. wearing white, at a fancy venue, with heterosexual family members, etc). I also liked how the comics made an effort to breaking away from explicit stereotypes about groups of people in the scene at the diner, when at first the characters had assumptions that were later broken in a positive way.

Three Springs Fruit Farm

Download (PPTX, 5.56MB)

[Three Springs Fruit Farm Powerpoint]

Three Springs Fruit Farm is a family farm in Adams County, PA that produces fruits, berries, tomatoes and other vegetables, though apples are part of their largest production. I had the opportunity to visit this farm while interpreting for Keystone Migrant Health services, but wanted to learn more about their production. I had trouble getting in contact with another producer so I decided to go with this farm instead.

When did you start food producing?

Ben Wenk is part of the seventh generation of the family farm. He is a 2006 graduate of the Penn State Agroecology program with a minor in horticulture. After this, Ben returned to the farm. Since 2007, Ben manages trips to the farmers markets including markets located in Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Harrisburg. Part of his job also includes monitoring the fruit fields for insects in order to reduce pesticide usage.

How do you manage pests? Do you use pesticides?

The farm uses integrated pest management in order to consider every possible means to mitigate pests. Part of this includes monitoring traps every week in order to catch insects. The farm tries to use every possible solution prior to using any type of spray. When using minimal sprays, the farm tries to find solutions that have a minimal negative effect on the evironment. In 2010, they received the Food Alliance Certified producer award for their standards which is a testament to their management practices.

How has the farm changed over time?

In the initial years of the farm, the focus was not actually apples having only 10 acres of apples, but rather hogs, chickens, and other field crops were the main operations. 1964 was the year that most of the apple trees were planted. Today, the majority of the farms 335 acres are preserved farmland in order to keep land for future usage in the years to come. Through purchasing nearby farms, Three Springs now focuses on selling fresh apples as their main market instead of the processing industry.

How do you stay informed about agriculture? Are you a part of any agricultural organizations?

The farm is active with the following organizations: State Horticulture Association of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Board, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.


You and the Food System

Dried Apricots

Main ingredient: Apricots

Before coming back to school, I picked up some snacks at Trader Joe’s, including dried apricots. As stated on the packaging, the apricots were a product of Turkey. Turkey is the largest producer of apricots, and generally apricots are native to parts of Asia. However, the fruit is grown worldwide in countries including France, Armenia, Morocco, and various parts of the United States including California. Therefore, my dried apricots traveled approximately 5,500 miles to get to my plate. Dried fruit is made by either taking the water out of the fruit by sun drying or through using a machine called a dehydrator. As a result of the water taken out, sugars are more concentrated in this dried fruit. The environmental impact of apricot production is considered relatively low with 1,287 liters of water used to produced 1 kilogram of apricots, however, the distance of the apricots from Turkey would definitely increase the environmental impact.



Main ingredient: Broccoli

Broccoli is one of my favorite foods.

I ate broccoli in the caf, and therefore am not entirely sure where my broccoli came from. However, in the United States, the main producing states include California, Arizona, Texas, and Oregon. Since California produces 90 percent of the country’s broccoli production, I will assume the broccoli came from there. My broccoli traveled approximately 2,700 miles to get to my plate. Most broccoli harvested in the US is sold as fresh produce, however, the broccoli I ate in the caf was likely frozen. Pesticides and other chemicals were likely used in the production process. Out of the three foods, I selected, broccoli has the smallest water footprint, approximately 285 liters of water used to produce one kilogram of broccoli with a low average carbon footprint as well/

Peanut Butter:

Main ingredient: Peanuts

For my first- year seminar “Food Justice”, I did an assignment in which I had to try to figure out where everything I ate came from for a week. In the process of hassling the cafeteria staff about many products, I recall learning that the caf uses Jif peanut butter- both the regular and natural options. Jif peanut butter is produced at a facility in Lexington, Kentucky, the largest peanut butter production facility in the world. Their peanuts primarily come from farms in the south of the United States including Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. From the farms, my peanuts travelled approximately 1,000 miles, though the whole journey would likely be more miles after taken in consideration the mileage to and from production plants. Though peanut production is water intensive, according to UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, the global average water footprint of peanuts is approximately 2,782 cubic meters per ton of nuts is less compared to other nuts, for instance almonds which use an average of 8,047 cubic meters of water used per ton of nuts- though peanuts are technically legumes not nuts which is why their impact is substantially smaller.


Though I try to be conscious of my food consumption and carbon footprint in some respects due to eating primarily vegetarian/ plant-based options, I realized through this exercise that I am less conscious of my decisions at school, even in comparison to when I am home on breaks where I can more easily make personal decisions. At Dickinson, we are required to have meal plans, therefore we are less autonomous in our decision- making process.



Kristen Kozar

Hi my name is Kristen and I’m from Pittsburgh, PA. I am a Political Science and Spanish double major, Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies minor and am pursuing the Food Studies Certificate. I am primarily interested in issues relating to food justice including federal benefits, food insecurity, migrant farmworker/ H2A visa system, affordable housing, etc. I have conducted research at Dickinson on food access and federal food benefits, interned at Project SHARE for three years and served as an interpreter for migrant farm workers during the fall of 2018.

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