Environmental Injustice, Food Insecurity, &
Food Waste

Fresh and organic food can be inaccessible to people in lower income communities - both because of its price and because of a lack of availability. Many people in this country don’t live close to places that offer healthy or nutritious food, and so they are limited to the food that is  available at local corner stores or fast food chains. Food apartheid, a term coined by food advocate Karen Washington, occurs when people live in geographic areas where access to grocery store and other healthy food options are restricted or absent. The term recognizes not just inequity - but also the racial discrimination inherent in political and economic systems.  (Please read more about our choice in using the term 'food apartheid' versus 'food desert' in this piece by the NRDC.)  Approximately 2.3 million people (~2.2% of U.S. households) live over a mile away from a grocery store and do not own a car. Most of these people are lower income and/or persons of color (Brooks 2014).

Fresh food also costs more than packaged foods and provides fewer calories per dollar. Indeed, the price of fatty foods dropped 26% from 1989 to 2005 while the price of fruits and vegetables rose ~75% during that same time (Food Empowerment Project). Packaged foods are also shelf-stable for longer periods of time, allowing a store to have minimal fear of products spoiling and, in turn, losing a profit. When people receive less nutritious foods, it negatively impacts their health and puts them at risk for obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other such conditions. We are moving continually further away from environmentally and health-conscious consumption in the pursuit of cheaper and faster options to feed a growing human population.

In addition to the inequities in food availability and nutrition, people of color and those of lesser incomes are systematically put at a greater exposure to pesticides in their work (Feldman 2009). Farm workers are often paid minimum wage or less (under the table), and they are the ones who are exposed to toxic pesticides in the greatest amount. These pesticides have been shown to increase people’s likelihood of getting cancer, asthma, and other respiratory illnesses.

Finally, a third of the food produced in this country is wasted, and wasted food puts a significant toll on the environment by requiring immense amounts of water, land conversion, adding uncessary chemical fertilizers and pesticides to the land and water, and contributing pollutants to the environment when processing goods. Any excess food that ends up in a landfill also contributes to global warming through the production of methane or carbon dioxide.


Significance at F&M 

Although F&M is located in Lancaster, PA, a place known for its fertile soils and agricultural output, we still see many people in our community unable to access the nutrition that they need.  In a 2022 study conducted by the CSE, 51% of student respondents at Franklin & Marshall College identified as food insecure. This is higher than The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice's study of 86,000 college students respondents, in which 44% of four-year college students in the United States were food insecure.  

Food insecurity also impacts college employees.  According to our study, about 10% of faculty and professional staff respondents experience food insecurity at F&M. 


Where is the Granola Bar located?

The Granola Bar is located in the Center for the Sustainable Environment (Building # 25).  If you head to the patio and look for the Granola Bar sign you will see a green door leading into the building.  Head through that door and up the half flight of stairs and you will see the door leading into the Granola Bar!  You will need to swipe your ID at each door to enter the space.


When is the Granola Bar open?

Monday through Friday: 7 am to 8 pm

Closed Weekends


Who can access the Granola Bar?

Any student, faculty, or staff member at F&M. 


What food is available at the Granola Bar?

Because we depend on donations, the food available at the Granola Bar will vary.   Follow us on Instagram at @fandm_granolabar to stay current on what's available!


What can I donate? 

We are happy to accept monetary donations currently in cash and will update this website when we have a link ready for online donations. All money will go towards stocking the Granola Bar and bringing food insecurity education to campus.

We also accept donations of your time and energy! If you would like to volunteer, please fill out this form.

If you are interested in donating food to us, please email us to set up a time that works for you. Please note that we cannot accept anything that has clearly spoiled or has been opened.


I have questions. Who can I reach out to?

Email us at 


Environmental Justice (EJ) - the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, culture, national origin, income, and educational levels with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of protective environmental laws, regulations, and policies

Food Insecurity - the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe food, or the ability to acquire such food in a socially acceptable manner  The Hope Center

Stigma - negative and unjust beliefs held by a society regarding a group of people, action, or situation

The Granola Bar - The Center for the Sustainable Environment’s response to food insecurity and food waste on F&M’s campus. A resource for students, faculty, and staff, where people can pick up donated food, volunteer, and engage in environmental justice programming

Disproportionate Effects - situations of concern where there exists significantly higher and more adverse health and environmental effects on minority populations, low-income populations or indigenous peoples

For more language surrounding environmental justice, here are some of the terms used by the EPA.