Students Inspired by Interim


Access to healthful and environmentally-friendly food and the global consequences of consumer actions were the main topics discussed in the recent Interim course Food Justice. Students learned about the food system and the potential for injustices caused to people, animals, and the environment.

Assistant Professor of Social Work Cini Bretzlaff-Holstein said she wanted to inspire action among students toward improving the system.  

The class learned from these experiences:

  • Documentaries like “Food, Inc.” helped educate students on how food gets to plates across America, as well as the problems that come along with that process.
  • Former Trinity chaplain Tim Hoekstra described founding the running club in the congregation he pastors in Austin, a west Chicago suburb. Working out together encourages healthier choices in other areas of life. Other guest speakers taught the values of community gardens, farmers markets, and restaurants serving locally grown food.
  • Field trips to companies like Growing Power, which grows fresh vegetables on compost supported gardens in urban neighborhoods, inspired students to go local with their grocery buying.

Many students came away with a sense of how they could help.

“It is our responsibility to be aware of where the food we are feeding to our families comes from,” said Alexandra Otto ’15 of Brandon, Wisconsin, “how it was produced and how those factors may affect our bodies and the environment.”  

Other students became interested in aquaponics, a system in which plants are grown on the nutrients from fish waste, while the plants purify the fish water.

“I want my future research to incorporate this idea of stewardship and energy conservation,” says Calob Lostutter ’12 of Tuscon, Arizona. “Both my passions of science and earth conservation come together in beautiful harmony in this one aquaponics system.”

Supported by the Campus Ecological Stewardship Advisory Group (CESAG) and several interested students, the process of installing an aquaponics system is scheduled to begin soon.

Food Justice Interim Growing Power