Food Studies Program

In the Spotlight: Food Studies Minor Jessica Polansky

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Jessica Polansky

Where are you from originally?
My whole family is originally from the Milwaukee, WI, area, but I have been in Southern Maine since I was a child.

What is your major?

Economics, with a double minor in Food Studies and Holistic and Integrative Health.

Which Food Studies course(s) are you currently enrolled in?
I am currently interning at Maine Farmland Trust, working with their Farm Viability team on local food access, and the Maine Harvest Bucks program. MHB offers nutrition incentives for SNAP customers to get free local fruits and vegetables when they purchase other locally produced food items.

What have you learned that has surprised you about food?
One experience that impacted me was conducting phone surveys with SNAP customers receiving local food incentives through MFT. Through listening to the stories of people experiencing food insecurity firsthand, I have gained a deeper understanding of the issue as a whole. I was moved to tears by one woman’s experience, as she was so thankful to be able to purchase her children an entire bag of apples, rather than just one for each of them, thanks to the incentives she receives through MFT.

How do you hope to continue working in this field once you graduate?
I am [hoping to get] my PhD after finishing undergrad. I plan to focus on sustainable agriculture and food access.

In your opinion, what do you think is the most pressing issue related to food and the food industry?
I believe that the most pressing issue related to the food industry is industrial agriculture. The methods and practices used in industrial agriculture make it the root of land overuse, soil degradation, environmental damage and unstable food markets. 

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