By Ken Smith, News Review
Growing up, easy access to fresh, healthy food was a consistent part of Linnea Mack’s life. It wasn’t until she got a little bit older that she realized that wasn’t the case for everybody.
“I was raised in a home were we ate mostly organic,” said Mack, 21, a recent graduate of UCLA. “When I was in high school, I realized that was a privilege in many ways, and that not everyone ate or knew about the importance of good food. It helped me realize how lucky I was.”
That realization remained at the back of Mack’s mind as she studied geography—with an emphasis on environmental issues—in college. A course focused on cities and food further enforced Mack’s understanding that food access is a matter of social justice, and after graduating this past spring she spent the summer working with Food Forward, an organization that collects leftover produce from Los Angeles-area farmers’ markets and distributes it to organizations dedicated to poverty and hunger relief.
Mack said seeing firsthand the positive impacts of fresh food for those who received it encouraged her to continue on that path. She applied and was accepted to FoodCorps, an AmericCorps program dedicated to educating schoolchildren about and connecting them to healthy food and eating habits. She recently began working toward those goals with the Chico Unified School District. She’ll spend one year in Chico with the program and, while she grew up in San Jose, she’s no stranger to the area, as her grandparents are longtime Butte County residents.