Celebrating 10 Years of the Fellows Program: Taiyo Scanlon-Kimura

Taiyo Scanlon-Kimura
Fellow from 2018 to 2019, based in San Francisco 

Bon Appétit campus attended: Oberlin College

Current job: On sabbatical, farming in Europe right now (olives in Spain and dairy in France).

Skill/wisdom you gained from the Fellowship: The ability to do “cold call” outreach, thanks to all the student groups and professors I contacted for campus visits.

Memorable experience as a Fellow: Bon Appétit at Oberlin College, my alma mater, hires dozens of part-time student workers to work in the dining halls. Back in college I was one of them, washing pots and dishes in Afrikan Heritage House and managing a cashier in Decafé. I enjoyed these jobs and made many friends during those shifts, but I always felt the work contributed something more to my Oberlin experience, something I could feel but didn’t know how to express to my peers.

When I returned to Oberlin for a Fellow visit in spring 2019, more than 100 student workers participated in a series of workshops I organized on the value of their work experiences. I was reminded of my Oberlin years while listening to current students talk about their jobs, their likes and dislikes and aspirations; to create space for student-workers to express their perspectives, and especially the pride they take in their jobs, made me feel like I had completed a circle.

Advice for current food-activist students: Food systems are everywhere, a constant link between the natural world and our human-made one. This makes food-focused change a worthy endeavor with broad potential for positive impact. Successful food activism demands a holistic understanding of food systems, which often requires working with people with different expertise. Science, business, and social justice can do more to influence food systems when applied together.

Read more Fellows 10th Anniversary interviews: