Category: Transience - L I V E   R E A L
by Kay Cuajunco

It’s the first day of the California leg of the Food and Freedom Ride and I feel so inspired and humbled to be on this ride with such amazing people committed to food and freedom. I also feel especially thankful for the opportunity to visit my hometown of San Diego through new eyes since becoming immersed in the movement for food justice.

I have a lot of friends and family I grew up with in San Diego who tend to associate healthy, organic food with the Bay Area -- some of them tease me, some of them still don’t quite get it, but I’m glad most of them will at least hear me out. Sometimes I say it’s as if I lead somewhat of a double life, torn between two communities, but after today, I’m beginning to see two worlds converging. San Diego is down with food justice -- there is SO much going on! 

Today we joined a food justice bike tour organized by Food and Water Watch with stops at farmers markets and community gardens around the city. My favorite site we visited was the campus garden at San Diego City College, a large well-maintained garden on a slope overlooking Downtown San Diego. In Oakland, I help coordinate the “Scraps to Soil” composting project at Laney College with Bay Localize. I think it’s so awesome that at community colleges, where most students only attend part-time and for a few years before moving on to a university, that the students truly are still building community through these spectacular gardens.

Returning to San Diego today has made me think a lot about the idea of transience. I love avocados, but when I think about planting an avocado tree in my yard, the first thought that crosses my mind is if I’ll even be living in my house long enough to enjoy the avocados. But I’ve realized that’s actually kind of selfish, isn’t it? Why not grow any and all trees for any and all to enjoy, now or years from now? The campus gardens springing up at community college campuses show us that people are transcending transience because they care about providing local, healthy food to as many people as possible.

In a lot of ways I’ve adopted the Bay Area as my home, partly because I’ve grown a lot in my time since moving there, but also because I felt really disconnected from a lot of people in San Diego. After spending the day here, I hope to rekindle the love for my roots down here and stay connected to allies working for food justice in San Diego.