Starting Seeds with the QLSP Summer Service Fellows


(Here’s the Mobile Oasis Summer team! From left to right: Mary-Kate, Maya, Jackie, Amelia, Jake, and Elijah. Photo taken by our fearless leader Audrey!)


We’re Jake ’19 and Amelia ’18, the QLSP Summer Service Fellows and are excited to be writing from Greensboro! There’s been a lot of work over the past weeks getting our bearings situated with all of the exciting opportunities happening this summer. This summer we will be working through the Bonner Center on campus with a new project Guilford is taking on, Mobile Oasis. This is a program that was started by the Guilford County Health Department that brings produce to different food insecure community farmers markets at a reduced price.

As Guilford takes on the Mobile Oasis program, we will be able to expand our relationships within the Greensboro community visiting new sites as well as those we work with throughout the year. Between site visits, seed starting, discussions about food inequality, and some good o’l weeding we’ve been busy to say the least. Bringing together students from all over campus as well as other universities and parts of the community, Mobile Oasis is moving forward with a dedicated energetic team excited to take the project to new heights.

(Here’s Jake happy about starting some seeds in the greenhouse on campus!)

We thought a good place to start would be sharing some of the vocabulary we likely will be using this Summer that you might not know.

Food Desert– The USDA defines Food Deserts as areas of the country that are “vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods.” In order for a location to qualify as a food desert, more than 33% of a community must live more than one mile from a large grocery store. While this definition helps us get an idea of which communities are being affected, it’s a fairly limited definition and leaves out many communities that are struggling with access to food.

Food Insecurity– Food insecurity is defined as “the state of being without reliable access to sufficient quantity of affordable nutritious food.” While the USDA Food Desert label identifies many communities with a lack of nutritious food, there are thousands of people who suffer from food insecurity but do not live in a labeled zone. 

Food Sovereignty– Food Sovereignty is something that we focus on a lot at Guilford and something that the Food Justice Club is dedicated to. The U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance defines Food Sovereignty as “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.” This is incredibly crucial to the Mobile Oasis project, and to any project addressing food insecurity. It’s neither our place nor constructive to simply provide people with food because we hear that they are hungry. By focusing on food sovereignty communities are able to provide what they need and want, as well as develop systems to sustain themselves and push against systems that contribute to food insecurity.

Looking forward to sharing more about our adventures and the things we learn on the way!

-Jake and Amelia