The Quest Summer Fellowship Program is a 12-week fellowship, which gives six Quest students the opportunity to conduct research under the guidance of a Quest tutor during the summer months. The Quest Summer Fellowship Program is administered by the Quest Summer Fellowship Advisory Committee, comprised of Melanie Bedore, Richard Hoshino, Mark Vaughan, Curt Wasson, and Rich Wildman (chair).More details in regards to this fellowship and examples of research projects that our students are conducting will be provided in another blog post. During the summer months, however, each week a student (recipient of the Fellowship Award) or faculty member (part of the Summer Fellowship Advisory Committee) is responsible for giving a mid-summer presentation in the Quest Summer Seminar Series. Last week I had the opportunity to attend a talk delivered by Dr. Melanie Bedore, called “Good Food Box Programs: Prospects or Limitations for Food Justice?”
Dr. Melanie Bedore is a social sciences tutor at Quest University Canada. Even though she is a human geographer by training, Melanie has developed a deep passion for food studies, inequality, poverty, and Canadian social policy. Her scholarship and research focus is diverse ranging from financial literacy for rural women in Ontario and food policymaking in Baltimore to health care interventions for homeless populations and social enterprise as an employment option for people with intellectual disabilities. If Melanie were a Quest student, as stated on her Quest biography, Melanie’s question would be “What is a socially just urban food system?”
During her talk Melanie touched up various topics such as “What is Food Justice?” “How Does One Do Food Justice?” and “Why Some Food Box Programs are not very ‘Justice-y’?”In addition, Melanie talked in detail about her study with a non-for profit organization called, “The Community Development Council of Quinte” (CDCQuinte) in Belleville, Ontario. This organization has developed a food box called, “The Good Food Food Box Program,” which offers fresh, healthy, nutritious fruits and vegetables at a fraction of the retail cost. The boxes are available monthly and are shipped to various regions of Ontario. Melanie conducted a research study to learn more about the Good Food Box via paper surveys, convenience samples interview of clients, document review, and interviews with organizer.
What Melanie found is that the Good Food Box is a great program, giving access to fresh fruits and vegetables to many people who may live in a food dessert. A food desert is often defined as an area where affordable and nutritious food is hard to obtain, especially to those people who may not have access to a vehicle. However, Melanie also suggested that the Good Food Box could become even more ‘food justice-y’ by acknowledging trauma and concerning itself with land and/or labour issues of producers and growers. In conclusion, however, it is amazing to see how programs such as the Good Food Box program is giving access to fresh produce to many people at a very low cost. It would be amazing to see more non-profit organizations, such as the CDCQuinte, working more towards such issues and providing more people access to fresh produce.
Attending Melanie’s talk was very informative and educational. I am very happy to hear more about her research and all the amazing things that she is doing towards food justice, from conducting research to teaching many classes at Quest in regards to food, poverty, and inequality. I look forward to attending other Quest Summer Seminar Series, which are taking place each Wednesday afternoon (4:15 pm) here at Quest University Canada.