Susan Kim, masters student at the University of Victoria is Meal Exchange's Lead on Food Sovereignty Co-Coordinator. Susan sat down with Meal Exchange summer staff, Lisa Alton, to discuss her reflections of her work with Meal Exchange this summer.
Lisa: How did you come to work with Meal Exchange this summer?
Susan:I knew Dana and Sarah from beforehand and they got me interested in Meal Exchange so I started following them on twitter, and then saw the job posting, and here I am!
L:What did you learn through your work with Meal Exchange this summer?
S:I learned that food systems are complicated and even just looking at it through the post-secondary lens is already very complicated, but it’s good to see the hands-on approach Meal Exchange takes to make practical differences. Conversations with Kaitlyn (The Real Food Challenge Coordinator) have been enlightening about what’s happening on the ground, in juxtaposition to talking about food in an abstract way in my research. It’s interesting to see the ways scholarship and the real world collide. I also learned about confronting my settler identity and my implicity benefits from the food system colonization. It allowed me to genuinely start the process of concrete decolonization.
L: How so?
S: “It may not seem concrete, but the power of language and using language in new ways is something I’ve been intentional about. There’s a park in Victoria called Beacon Hill Park but it’s real name is “Meegan”, meaning ‘warmed by the sun’. I try to use its Indigenous name to recognize the land.”
L: What impact have you seen/hope to see this upcoming year on campus or in your community?
S:With MX, I’m super lucky to be a TA, so I can highly recommend students to get involved with different organizations such as the Real Food Challenge. On a more big picture level, I would love to have more traditional cook-outs, and see a revival and resurgence of traditional food practices that overcome institutional bureaucracy, which in itself is oppressive and colonial.
LL What are you looking forward to this year on campus?
Another season of wild strawberries! There’s a batch on campus that only a few of us know about and it’s so nice. I’m also looking forward to seeing students get involved in the movement. While I’m TAing food systems courses, I hope I can be influential in showing students about food sovereignty, food regimes, food justice and food deserts, and introduce them to the campus garden. I can’t wait to tell them how successful it’s been. Lastly, I’m looking forward to seeing another generation of students coming in who will be exposed to these ideas and hopefully act on them, integrating them into their politics and whatever they do in the future.