Martha's Table: Healthy and accessible

Through my four years at George Washington University, declaring sustainability as my minor has been something that I am most thankful for.

Taking different sustainability classes exposed the different, deep-rooted issues that are prevalent in our world today. Learning about all 17 Sustainable Development Goals in my Intro to Sustainability class seemed like a great way to really cover all the different problem areas in the world. Taking the Culminating Experience course directly after was a great opportunity to take what I’ve learned in my intro class and really put it to use. I also was able to see firsthand how these different problems have had an effect on different populations.

There are a lot of problems associated with sustainability in our world but one that I have focused on through this culminating experience has been hunger. I have always known that zero hunger is one of the 17 sustainability goals but I have never really known what that truly meant until now, having worked this semester with Martha's Table.

Martha's Table offers a plethora of food services to the local community. The community located near Martha’s Table is in a food desert, and finding healthy and affordable foods is something that has been very challenging for them. Martha’s Table offers a helping hand to this community in filling this void. 

The organization hosts different events, including the Joyful Food Market, mini market, and food preparation services. To work at the Joyful Food Market, I come in about an hour before it starts to help set up. We arrange the tables from canned foods, to packaged foods, and finally to the fresh produce. Martha’s Table puts emphasis on healthy eating and all the benefits associated with doing so. They strive to promote a healthy lifestyle by offering a variety of recipes, cooking demonstrations, and nutritional information. 

The Joyful Food Market is one that I have particularly enjoyed because I was able to interact with the local community. This is where I learned the most; after talking with the different residents I was really able to understand the true struggles they face on a daily basis. I also was able to see the appreciation and gratitude they had for both the program and its volunteers. Seeing how thankful and sincere they all were, I think, said a lot about the different individuals and their particular situations. 

One program that Martha’s Table had come up with that I was really impressed with was its partnerships with Lyft. The organization teamed up with Lyft to ensure cheap transportation for the local communities to a variety of grocery stores. Since their grocery stores are so far, Lyft made it possible for them to be able to go there for only $2.50.

This simple innovation was really forward thinking, and made good use of the different advancements in technology that we now have access to.

Innovation like this is what will allow our planet to move forward. This day in age, naturally, we will continue to see new technologies and new advancements being made. It is up to us to really think and get creative and use these advancements as an advantage. In terms of sustainability we need to adapt to this “planet forward” thinking mindset and be able to think of all the different ways that an individuals life and the world at large can be further improved.  

How do you move the Planet Forward? Tweet us @planet_forward or contribute to the conversation with your own story.