Sage Spotlight: Food Justice Collaborative

A service learning group dedicated to helping people in Orange County facing food insecurity


Photo Courtesy of the Food Justice Collaboration

Members of the FJC collect food to donate to people in need

Priya Bhakta

Although many collaboratives faced setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, more and more students are now able to go into the community to help make a positive impact. As juniors and seniors, students have the opportunity to join a variety of service-learning organizations and collaboratives. Each of these independent, student-run groups encourages people to become agents of change in the community by giving back through service-based experiences. 

One of these groups is the Food Justice Collaborative. The Food Justice Collaborative was started to eliminate food inequality and insecurity in Orange County. According to The University of Southern California’s Center for Health Journalism, over 20 percent of children in Orange County live in households that are considered food insecure. This essentially means that they do not have consistent access to healthy and nutritious foods. One of these foods that are often the first to get cut out of diets is fresh produce. 

The Food Justice Collaborative’s goal is to minimize the impact of food insecurity in Orange County by helping people have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. To do this, they ask members of the Sage Hill community if they have any fruit trees that give an unwanted excess of fruit that can be donated. They then go to the homes to pick the fresh produce and package it to be distributed. After this, they donate the fresh fruits to food pantries and food banks in Orange County who then share them with those who need them the most. By doing this, the Food Justice Collaborative not only helps eliminate food injustice, but also helps promote sustainability by donating fruits that may otherwise go bad and uneaten. 

So far, the members of the Food Justice Collaborative have picked over three hundred pounds of fresh citrus fruits to be donated to the community. Through their hard work and determination to minimize the impacts of food insecurity in Orange County, the members of the Food Justice Collaborative have done a great job of representing Sage Hill in our community and helping create positive change that helps others.