Kiara Kashuba preparing food with Cornerstone Community Housing in partnership with Food for Lane County at Willamette Gardens

Eating Well

Eating Well

Eating Well

BY ED DORSCH, BA '94, MA '99


Once a year, Thanksgiving is a day for gratitude, family, and friends. And, of course, food. For senior Kiara Kashuba, food justice—a complex web of issues that include sustainability, agriculture, nutrition, and community building—is a yearlong pursuit and the focus of her studies.

Once a year, Thanksgiving is a day for gratitude, family, and friends. And, of course, food. For senior Kiara Kashuba, food justice—a complex web of issues that include sustainability, agriculture, nutrition, and community building—is a yearlong pursuit and the focus of her studies.

Once a year, Thanksgiving is a day for gratitude, family, and friends. And, of course, food. For senior Kiara Kashuba, food justice—a complex web of issues that include sustainability, agriculture, nutrition, and community building—is a yearlong pursuit and the focus of her studies.

Kiara Kashuba
“I feel a responsibility to help my community and go out and help create tangible social change.”
—Kiara Kashuba, Class of 2017
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Major: Planning, Public Policy and Management
Minors: Food Studies and Environmental Studies
Clark Honors College
Mary Corrigan and Richard Solari Scholarship Recipient
Summit Scholarship Recipient
“I feel a responsibility to help my community and go out and help create tangible social change.”
—Kiara Kashuba, Class of 2017
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Major: Planning, Public Policy and Management
Minors: Food Studies and Environmental Studies
Clark Honors College
Mary Corrigan and Richard Solari Scholarship Recipient
Summit Scholarship Recipient
“I feel a responsibility to help my community and go out and help create tangible social change.”
—Kiara Kashuba, Class of 2017
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Major: Planning, Public Policy and Management
Minors: Food Studies and Environmental Studies
Clark Honors College
Mary Corrigan and Richard Solari Scholarship Recipient
Summit Scholarship Recipient

 

Kiara Kashuba interning with Cornerstone Community Housing in partnership with Food for Lane County
Recipients selecting fruits and vegetables at Willamette Gardens

Although the environment was important to her in high school, Kiara became interested in broader food justice issues at the University of Oregon.

“It had always been somewhere on my mind. I became a vegetarian my freshman year of high school and that was my first step into thinking about food in a broader sense—how it impacts the environment and other beings. That was kind of my gateway. And then I realized that this issue isn’t limited to animal welfare. But it expands to the environment and farmworker rights and food justice.”

Kiara Kashuba bringing in fruits and vegetables to Willamette Gardens as part of Cornerstone Community Housing

A bin full of apples

 

Kiara Kashuba preparing food with Cornerstone Community Housing at Willamette Gardens

“People always refer to college as not being the real world. They say ‘When I enter the real world, I’m going to do all this cool stuff.’ No. You don’t have to wait until after you graduate. This is the real world."

“People always refer to college as not being the real world. They say ‘When I enter the real world, I’m going to do all this cool stuff.’ No, you don’t have to wait until after you graduate. This is the real world."

 

Kiara Kashuba working with Project Tomato

During her freshman year at the UO, Kiara participated in Project Tomato when she joined the Community for Environmental Leaders Academic Residential Community, and later became a coordinator. 

“I was volunteering at the Grove, the Student Sustainability Coalition’s community garden. I was talking to this guy who was there and somehow Project Tomato came up and he said ‘they’re hiring.’ I realized that it was the program I had done as a freshman. So I jumped on it right away. I had so much fun, and it put me on a trajectory to all the stuff I’m doing now. I wanted to give that back to incoming freshmen and get them stoked about food issues and their education.”

A cut tomato from Project Tomato
Kiara Kashuba making tomato sauce as part of Project Tomato

 

Kiara Kashuba preparing food with Cornerstone Community Housing at Willamette Gardens

“The biggest thing for me is making sure the local food movement isn’t an elitist, exclusive movement. Because that completely defeats the purpose. If we’re doing something like this, it has to be available to all people. That’s where food justice comes in. Food justice is basically equal access to foods that are safe, healthy, and socially and culturally appropriate.”

“The biggest thing for me is making sure the local food movement isn’t an elitist, exclusive movement. Because that completely defeats the purpose. If we’re doing something like this, it has to be available to all people. That’s where food justice comes in. Food justice is basically equal access to foods that are safe, healthy, and socially and culturally appropriate.”

 

Kiara Kashuba preparing applesauce as part of a demonstration

As part of her Planning, Public Policy and Management (PPPM) coursework, Kiara volunteers for Cornerstone Community Housing, helping distribute healthy food and demonstrating ways to prepare it. Her volunteer work with Food for Lane County included researching clients who used the Dining Room, the organization’s innovative take on the traditional soup kitchen.

“I love everything about the PPPM department. I think it’s the coolest. Nonprofit administration was a more vocational degree. I could take any interest I wanted and apply it to a practical field.”

When she’s not helping people out in the community, Kiara is working on issues closer to home. Food security among UO students is the focus of her Clark Honors College thesis, as well as her efforts with a university working group. And she’s working to bring to campus this February an event called FEAST—a program sponsored by the Oregon Food Bank that will help identify problems and solutions to help students.

“I think the community I was introduced to through Project Tomato helped a lot. Both in terms of the students that I met in Community for Environmental Leaders and the local food community. And seeing just how supportive they are of each other. And just working with this really cool group of people making change happen in a really tangible, hands-on way. It was really inspiring to me.”

Kiara Kashuba preparing applesauce as part of a demonstration