Anna Hankins is a second year student at UMass Amherst paving her own path through education by combining both classroom learning and organizing work. Anna enjoys being agitated about food injustices, spending hours in meetings trying to change them, and eating copious amounts of chocolate in her spare time.
An Earth Day baby, Anna has honored the title by working tirelessly to spread awareness about the connections between social justice and environmental conservation. Prior to coming to college Anna worked with environmental non-profits including Teens Turning Green and the Earthwatch Institute. Currently Anna is the co-chair of the national Real Food Challenge Calculator-Working Group.
Just last week, Anna traveled to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference in Portland, OR to present on the Real Food Campus Commitment and student decision-making. She then continued on to Louisville, KY for the Farm2Campus conference where she appeared on a panel about the Real Food Calculator.
Anna is working with UMass Auxiliary Services and the Real Food Challenge to leverage the purchasing power in colleges and universities to create a just food system that supports people and the planet. Anna enjoys running the Real Food Calculator because it promotes and requires transparency and accountability – two things she believes are seriously missing in our global food system.
The Real Food Challenge campaign seeks to shift $1 billion of university food purchasing budgets to food that is community based, ecologically sound, fairly traded, and/or humanely raised. She is one of many students working on this campaign at UMass and throughout the country.
Anna wants to acknowledge that she isn’t a farmer, but that some of the most influential people in her life have been. Anna has had a strong relationship with her local dairy farmers for the past ten years. From them she learned that supporting local agriculture means a lot more than just going to the local farmers market – it means making sure farmers are at the forefront of conversations about sourcing and making sure they are being paid a living wage.
Anna plans to continue working on the Real Food Challenge for the rest of her time at UMass and hopefully continue community based organizing work after college.
Entries are submitted by project staff and UMass students.