I'd like to give a shout-out to the Berkeley Student Cooperative, where I lived for my last three years at Berkeley. BSC was a key component of my Berkeley education and I am so grateful that I found it.
|Home, sweet home. Rooftop deck and study area at CZ. Photo courtesy of Victory Garden.|
Students in the BSC went to the Oakland Produce Market to buy food wholesale and in bulk. Then other students took turns cooking and serving food (work shifts). It was and remains a low-cost, and time-efficient way to obtain high-quality food near campus.
Plus, you learn skills. I know how to operate a Hobart, an industrial dishwasher, how to dismantle and clean a commercial range, food safety laws...
The best part of BSC is the people I met. I roomed with a black roommate one semester before I collected enough points to live in a single. I can never walk in her shoes, but walking beside her was a crash course in US race relations. That's one reason why I feel so strongly about #BlackLivesMatter.
Unlike the 1930s, the hunger experienced by 40% of today's UC students is caused by a strong economy. Rising rents is literally eating the students' lunch. It appears that the Oakland Produce Market is also at high risk due to rising rents.
I've come to realize that some basics--basic food, housing, healthcare, education and some types of data--are too important to leave to the free market. Oops, writing that sentence took a long time because I kept thinking of things that needed to go on that list, such as environment, water, power...
As a society, we have work to do. Let's push back with data and an open mind to problems and solutions.