Thomeka Watkins, a junior at William & Mary, understands that food matters. Food has a central role in healthy lives, families, and communities, and since beginning her time at William & Mary she has put food in the center. Thomeka is a co-coordinator of the Campus Kitchen at William & Mary, an organization that addresses food insecurity and food waste. She also co-founded the W&M Food Recovery Network chapter to bring a campus focus to those same issues. Pairing action with understanding, Thomeka's course work in Economics motivates her to understand and address the structural issues of food insecurity and poverty on a systemic scale. She remains committed to making food matter but food insecurity disappear.
My passion for addressing food insecurity and food waste first emerged when I was conducting my high school senior research project and I learned about the colossal amount of food waste in America despite high levels of poverty and food insecurity. Once I started college, I began educating myself about the structural factors behind food insecurity and its intersections with poverty and homelessness. On campus, I co-lead a student service organization that focuses on using existing resources to meet hunger and nutritional needs in communities. I also use skills gained from my economics and business analytics studies to research solutions to poverty and food waste from an economic and process efficiency level.