For my community partnership, I assisted an MDP graduate student with her research project conducting a community food assessment in Geyserville, a small town in Sonoma County. As a Public Health student with a strong interest in food systems, I was really drawn to this project as it aims to help address food insecurity, particularly among the Latinx population in Geyserville. In addition to remote work, I was very lucky to even get the chance to travel to Geyserville and volunteer at a food distribution to connect with community members in a meaningful way. The data that was collected and analyzed in our food assessment will hopefully be used to inform future interventions in Geyserville with the aim of increasing access to fresh produce for those experiencing food insecurity.
As part of my ESPM 197 internship this semester, I worked with a Master of Development Practice student along with an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley on a project called Geyserville Kitchen Commons to increase food access in a small, rural town called Geyserville, CA. We were able to conduct a Community Food Assessment (CFA) to understand the food system in Geyserville by surveying residents and conducting interviews with experts in the community. Conducting a CFA allowed me to discover the incredible strengths and assets of Geyserville that can be leveraged to increase food access in the area. I learned that every community has its own unique strengths if you take the time to get to know the community and the people within it. From conducting research to developing survey instruments to interviewing community experts, I have been able to develop key transferrable skills that I hope to take with me to my future career. My involvement in this project has validated my passions in public health and food security, and I hope to continue to be involved in work that advocates for food equity in every community.