The Just Food Podcast

Just Food Podcast LogoSeason two of Just Food, our signature podcast series, picks up where season one left off, highlighting the dedicated people that push the expansion of justice and health throughout our food systems. The series is once again produced by the Berkeley Food Institute, in partnership with the UC Berkeley Advanced Media Institute at the Graduate School of Journalism. We invite you to also experience the moving stories of the Season One, on iTunes; see the gallery of photos of the persons interviewed, get the transcript, read the story, and listen on SoundCloud here, or subscribe through the Apple Podcasts app, PodBean, or your favorite podcast player.
UC Berkeley's Bear Market

SNAP in the Age of Political Chaos

June 14, 2018

Many individuals eligible for SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, are now fearful of using the program because current nebulous and ever-changing Federal rules put them in fear of their status as legal residents. Fear of retaliation by Washington has hurt children the most. This episode examines proposed changes in SNAP, the largest part of the Farm Bill, and California’s commitment to finding moral high ground. The esteemed Maria Echaveste, a BFI affiliate, weighs in on the obligations of government and its citizenry. Berkeley alum Christina L. Laird describes her experience helping program recipients as a volunteer administrator for SparkPoint Marin, and as a participant.

Listen, subscribe, and rate this episode on Apple Podcasts here.

Read the story, get the transcript, and listen to Episode 5, Season 2 on Soundcloud here.

Mai Nguyen walks one of her farms on leased land in Petaluma. Photo credit: Muna Danish

Small Farms and Land Access: Farm Dreams Deferred

May 31, 2018

Farmland prices have doubled since 2004. Seventy percent of U.S. farmland is expected to transition to another owner over the next 20 years. Many new farmers and small farmers rent land like other folks rent homes. What happens when their landlord doesn’t renew the lease after a season? How can new and aspiring farmers gain access to land they can control long-term for farming? Will new farmers survive the pinch? We delve into these issues and more. UC Berkeley doctoral student Adam Calo and farmer and Berkeley graduate Mai Nguyen discuss.

Listen to Episode 4, Season 2 on iTunes here.

Read the story, get the transcript, and listen to Episode 4, Season 2 on Soundcloud here.

Charlene Adams prepares whole wheat noodles for veggie chow mein for several Oakland Unified schools at Place at Prescott, Oakland, CA. Photo credit: Edmond Allmond

Rethinking School Lunch: Health Equity

May 17, 2018

More than 900 million meals are served to children in California schools each year.  some children consume as much as two-thirds of their calories at school. But school meal programs have suffered over the last 10 years from major budget cutbacks, declining quality of food, and disconnection with community food needs. Within Oakland Unified School District, innovative efforts are changing how children are nourished. Now other districts are looking toward Oakland’s example.

Listen to Episode 3, Season 2, on iTunes, here.

Read the story, get the transcript, and listen to Episode 3, Season 2, on SoundCloud here.

Mary Schriner, eco-literacy garden coordinator, speaks with kindergarten students at Cleveland Elementary School in Oakland, CA during "Little Red Hen Day", the school's eco-literacy festival. Photo credit: Edmond Allmond

Ecoliteracy: Teaching Children About the Origins of Food

May 3, 2018

With or without a large kitchen, children can be taught about real food, our food sources, and the complete food system. Mary Schriner, an ecoliteracy instructor at Cleveland Elementary School in Oakland, teaches children about everything from eggs to wheat to cooking it all, with the help of principal Peter Van Tassel and an army of volunteers. The community support is heart-warming—and surprising.

Listen to Episode 2, Season 2, on iTunes here.

Read the story, get the transcript, and listen to Episode 2, Season 2 on Soundcloud here.

Patrons enjoying what some call 'the best food on the planet', macaroni and cheese, at Homeroom Mac and Cheese in Oakland, California. Homeroom creates many unique twists on mac and cheese. Photo Credit: Edmond Allmond

For Those Who Serve: The Restaurant Professionals

April 19, 2018

We learn that 90% of restaurant workers report experiencing sexual behavior that is scary or unwanted. We find that the system that allows this behavior to fester is rooted in concepts from feudal Europe and slavery. We then learn about solutions, personified in the subjects of our interview.

Listen to Episode 1, Season 2 on iTunes here.

Read the story, get the transcript, and listen to Episode 1, Season 2 on Soundcloud here.

Photo by UC Berkeley Basic Needs Security Committee

CalFresh on Campus: Breaking the Stigma of Food Insecurity

November 16, 2017

California consistently has one of the lowest enrollment rates for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—also known as CalFresh at the state level. This issue of low participation extends to college campuses, where food insecurity levels are disproportionately high. We learn about recent measures taken by the California government and UC Berkeley to get more students enrolled in CalFresh.

Listen to Episode 6 on iTunes here.

Read the story, get the transcript, and listen to Episode 6 on Soundcloud here.

Photo by Diane Villadsen

Healthy Soil in Richmond’s Concrete Jungle

November 2, 2017

A common and significant challenge for urban agriculture is the health of the farm’s soil. Often, the land has been used for different purposes over the years, possibly contaminating the soil or stripping its nutrients. We follow the journey of UC Berkeley soil scientists and Urban Tilth—a nonprofit based in Richmond, California—as they work together to transform a vacant plot into a working farm.

Listen to Episode 5 on iTunes here.

Read the story, get the transcript, and listen to Episode 5 on Soundcloud here.

Photo by CERCH.

The Changemakers of CHAMACOS: Pesticides and Public Health

October 19, 2017

A longitudinal study called CHAMACOS has been measuring the impact of pesticides on child development for over 15 years. We hear from high school students in Salinas, California who are working with UC Berkeley scientists to learn more about how agricultural chemicals affect the health of their community.

Listen to Episode 4 on iTunes here.

Read the story, get the transcript, and listen to Episode 4 on Soundcloud here.

Youth Environmental Academy volunteers work at different outreach events to teach the community about the adverse health effects of sugar-sweetened beverages and share healthier food options. Photo by the Ecology Center.

Leveling the Playing Field: The Berkeley Soda Tax

October 5, 2017

We follow the story of the nation’s first sugar-sweetened beverage tax here in Berkeley—from how the measure came into law in 2014 to how the tax and the revenue it generates are shaping the health of Berkeley residents today.

Listen to Episode 3 on iTunes here.

Read the story, get the transcript, and listen to Episode 3 on Soundcloud here.

The farm is full of native pollinators, such as this bumble bee.

Feeling the Sting: What Can Be Done to Protect Pollinators

September 21, 2017

We learn about how California agriculture has been impacted by dwindling bee populations and what farms can do in response—not only to protect honeybees, but also to restore native pollinator species.

Listen to Episode 2 on iTunes here.

Read the story, get the transcript, and listen to Episode 2 on Soundcloud here.

Pilot: Harvesting Equitable Food

April 18, 2017

In this first episode, we explore a new, opt-in certification program for farms. The Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) is a unique collaboration between workers, growers, and retailers that improves working conditions, pesticide management, and food safety—producing better fruits and vegetables while providing farm workers with higher pay and greater protections.

Listen to Episode 1 on iTunes here.

Read the story, get the transcript, and listen to Episode 1 on SoundCloud here.