My name is Lauren and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Isla Vista Food Coop’s Board of Directors. I started my career as a marine biologist (slash food server, baker, bartender…) but I have pivoted toward working in the food community, as I believe it has tremendous potential for environmental and social change. After studying distressed coral reef systems and fisheries around the world, I began to look toward the roots of the problems plaguing our oceans: pollution, climate change, and resource misuse. Our food system sits at the center of all these issues, and I believe that we can do much better as a society to heal our planet (and ourselves) through our food choices.
I am also a lifelong animal lover (I took care of sharks at the Pittsburgh Zoo before moving to Santa Barbara three years ago!) and came to understand the tremendous toll our food system takes on wild animal populations, as well as the farmed animals we raise for food. I hope to bring this perspective into the Co-op to help promote local, whole, and plant-based foods that are healthful for us, use less resources to produce, and require little plastic packaging. Our bulk and produce sections allow shoppers to stock their pantries completely plastic-free, which helps consumers shop more sustainably and serves as an example for other stores. I also love the wide selection of vegan cheeses, milks, ice cream, and meat alternatives that help people make convenient swaps to their go-to favorite foods. The vegan alternative market has exploded with delicious products in the last few years, and I think people are starting to get curious! If elected, I want to help the Co-op encourage that trend by providing ethical (and tasty) options.
I currently work in the development department at the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, an organization that provides nutritious food to the most vulnerable members of our community. I am a writer with experience in grants, marketing and communications, education, digital media (social, web, video) and special events. In my spare time I run an educational blog where I teach my followers to “eat for the sea” with tips for cooking, shopping, and eating ocean-friendly food. By joining the Board, I would like to help more people learn that the IV Food Co-op is a sustainable and ethical place to shop, to engage people with our services and events, and for the Co-op to serve as a hub for conversations about food and its (often undervalued) intersectionality. Food is power!