Fruits of the Their Labor

Food Justice

The lush grounds of Scripps College and surrounding areas were once part of a thriving citrus industry, with citrus ranches spread throughout the foothill communities of the Pomona Valley.

Today, the groves are gone, but remnants of the crops remain. A strong hint of what the area once contained arrives each winter when the heady scent of orange blossoms pervades Scripps—a fragrance that lingers in the memories of alumnae and those who stroll the campus.

Other fruits, including grapefruit, persimmon, and kumquat, are still found in various areas at Scripps and on other local school campuses; several fruit trees produce healthy crops.

What to do with this food bounty? Professor Nancy Neiman Auerbach, who teaches a course on the political economy of food, merged her concerns with those of Claremont’s San Antonio High School Food Justice Program. The result: This spring, Professor Auerbach and students from the 5Cs and the high school program prepared an elaborate meal for an annual fundraiser, using locally grown citrus and vegetables from the high school garden.

Another experimental project was this year’s highly successful public fruit jam. Students worked collaboratively with the Food Justice Program, the Fallen Fruit Artists’ co-op, and Scripps’ environmental club. Nearly 200 people attended the jam session, where they learned how to make jam and marmalade using fruit harvested from locally grown citrus trees, including those on the Scripps campus.

“The main goal was to build community and awareness around the use of abundantly available public fruit,” Auerbach said.

Goal accomplished.

Above: San Antonio High School science teacher Jenna Tamashiro ’10 and Professor of International Political Economy Nancy Neiman Auerbach examine vegetables during a Food Justice event at the high school. Neiman Auerbach holds the Mary W. Johnson Professorship in Teaching.


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