Photo by Angel Barker | Students getting cookies from one of the many tables at the food summit on April 6.
Photo by Angel Barker | Students getting cookies from one of the many tables at the food summit on April 6.

Cal Poly Humboldt campus hosts Food Summit

Campus organizations and Humboldt community discuss food structures.

by Angel Barker

A three-week-long Food Summit is on campus, and you’re invited. On-campus organizations El Centro, HEIF, Umoja Center, the Food Sovereignty Lab, Oh Snap!, WRAPP, and La Comida Nos Une all collaborated to make this event happen.

Liszet Burgueno, Developmental Manager for the Humboldt Energy Independence Fund (HEIF) and environmental resource engineering major, talked about the nature of the event.

“The Food Summit is a collaborative event where multiple campus organizations came together to start conversations about food justice, food sovereignty, and to give people food,” Burgueno said.

The first week was about the general topics to introduce people to the issues of food sustainability and justice. This week is about jobs and exploration in the food industry, and next week is about environmental justice and social justice.

HEIF is funding the Food Summit according to Katie Koscielak, Cal Poly Humboldt’s sustainability analyst and advisor for the event.

“The campus has done other food summits, but not in several years, and this is the first one funded by HEIF,” Koscielak said.

Photo by Angel Barker | Katie Koscielak, sustainability analyst for the campus, and Liset Burgueno, development manager for HEIF and environmental resource engineering major at the table for HEIF at the food summit on April 6.

HEIF funds sustainability projects on campus through instructionally related activities fees that students pay for each semester. Past projects have included water refilling stations, compost bins, lots of lighting upgrades throughout campus, hand dryers, and many more. These projects take effect when students submit proposals to the organization.

“Last semester, El Centro came to HEIF and submitted an idea paper, where they wanted to get reusable utensils,” Burgueno said.

Darin Torres, criminology and journalism major, pitched the idea this semester for a food summit. Torres spearheaded the ideas and planning, and after months of collaborating with many campus groups and local organizations, the event planning has been successful.

“I am really proud of what we’ve done so far,” Torres said. “Education is power.”

This event is not only to educate, but to get students involved with interactive events to help make the planet a better place. This event is really important to Torres, as food insecurity is a huge part of the greater Humboldt community.

“We have issues with indigenous cultures’ food not being respected,” Torres said. “Food is a major insecurity in Humboldt County, we have students who face hunger and homelessness so much. So we just wanted to incorporate it all into the food summit.”

“We have regenerated, and hopefully it will continue,” said Fernando Paz, coordinator for El Centro.

According to Paz, the event itself is, a way to really reflect on our carbon impact in terms of food that we use.

This Thursday, April 14, there will be a film screening of Gather hosted on Zoom, and on Friday there is a plant tour on campus and an opportunity to volunteer at Bayside Farm. Many more events are also scheduled throughout the week. To find the whole event schedule, go to

“This event is made for you in mind, it was made for students, by students,” Torres said.

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