2016-2017 Theme

Food Justice

The theme for the 2016-2017 FYE Common Experience is based on the film Can You Dig This, an award-winning documentary from executive producer John Legend about urban gardening in Los Angeles. The theme of food justice encompasses a multitude of issues related to food inequalities, including food security, food deserts, food sovereignty, food policies, and environmental justice. 

South Los Angeles. What comes to mind is gang, drugs, liquor stores, abandoned buildings and vacant lots. The last thing that you would expect to find is a beautiful garden sprouting up through the concrete, coloring the urban landscape. As part of an urban gardening movement taking root in South LA, people are planting to transform their neighborhoods and are changing their own lives in the process. Calling for people to put down their guns and pick up their shovels, these "gangster gardeners" are creating an oasis in the middle of one of the most notoriously dangerous places in America. CAN YOU DIG THIS follows the inspirational journeys of four unlikely gardeners, discovering what happens when they put their hands in the soil. This is not a story of science and economics. This is a story of the human spirit, inspiring people everywhere to pick up their shovels and "plant some s**t".

From "The Playlist" Los Angeles Film Festival Review:

...CAN YOU DIG THIS gets the job done wonderfully - Vallot and her collaborators effectively translate the madness, thrill, and societal obstacles of achieving a healthier system of food production in South Los Angeles and beyond. There are shades of activism, real heart, and an inspiring tone, delivered entertainingly with a group of expertly chosen subjects.