Food Literacy for All Graduate Student Journalistic Articles

Date: July 30, 2020

As a part of the Food Literacy for all syllabus each year, students are prompted to get creative and hone in on their writing skills by producing a journalistic article. This year there were four women who stood out in their ability to produce eye-catching, relevant pieces. Teresa Dorado, Bella Mayorga, Alek Ostrander, and Elizabeth Zaebst’s articles span food and racial justice issues for migrant workers to issues within schools, prisons, and urban centers. You can access all of the articles at the links below.


Health disparities among migrant and seasonal workers in the United States

Teresa Dorado, MS candidate, School for Environment and Sustainability

“I chose this topic because it shows the intersectionality of food production, health, and environmental conditions with immigrant workers at the center. The lack of adequate working conditions has been exceptionally noticed during this pandemic, in particular for farmworkers and those in meat processing plants. This assignment emphasized that my environmental career is part of a broader social context I hope to continue exploring.”



Urban agriculture sets the table for equity in public health, nutrition, and the environment

Bella Mayorga,  MS candidate, School for Environment and Sustainability

“For my final paper in Food Literacy for All, I wanted to dive deeper into the topic of Urban Farming to supplement my understanding of how urbanization affects wildlife within cities with a social, political, and economic perspective. Working on this paper gave me further insight into the many opportunities that urban farming programs have to support communities and promote positive public health outcomes. Urban farming and local food production are near and dear to me as a graduate student in Environment and Sustainability researching food security in Puerto Rico’s coffee region as well as the suitability of vacant land for urban farms in Southeast Michigan, especially in the light of pandemic-related food supply shortages and ongoing climate change.”


The power of the farm to school movement

Alek Ostrander, MPH Candidate, School of Public Health

“I chose to write my final paper and news story on farm-to-school initiatives because I wanted to learn more about a program that strengthens the National School Lunch Program. Nutrition standards in school meals is an important way to address equity as many low-income students receive school meals everyday. Through an internship experience this summer I researched and helped to write a policy brief about how COVID-19 will impact school meal services in the 2020-21 school year. The knowledge I gained about school meals and specifically farm-to-school models gave me a great background to be able to dive into this project head on. The economic crisis created by the pandemic will only increase the need to provide healthy school meals to children. Additionally, farm-to-school models have a positive economic impact on local communities. Farm-to-school models may be an even more critical component of school meals in the context of COVID-19.”


Food justice in prison: Sprouting change

Elizabeth Zaebst, MPH candidate, School of Public Health

“Many disparities exist within the incarcerated population in America, and it was a population that we had not yet covered in our Food Literacy class. I thought it would be interesting, challenging, and rewarding to research this new topic for the final assignment.Through this assignment, I learned about the racial inequality of incarceration, and the health crisis facing prison food systems. I now feel very passionate about reform, and I hope that my essay may similarly inspire others. As a future registered dietitian, I hope to volunteer as an advocate for change and improvement in this area. Health inequalities for the black community have been highlighted during COVID-19, and the tragedies our black citizens have experienced this year have inspired movement for reform and racial equality. My essay brings awareness to an important component of this effort: the racial inequality of incarceration rates, and the health disparities connected to our prison food systems.”