The Global Latinidades Center Launches a New Initiative with the Santa Barbara Student Housing Cooperative

The Global Latinidades Center (GLC) is excited to announce a new collaboration with the Santa Barbara Student Housing Cooperative.  UCSB alumni Sydney Evans and Tony Barbero spearheaded the project with educational workshops, community events, and film screenings. The content matter for the Spring 2023 program ranges from housing justice, food sovereignty, urban planning, ecology, and more. The first event was hosted in the Isla Vista Food Forest, a community farm also managed by the program hosts. These events are intended to be collaborative– between students of UC Santa Barbara and long-term permanent residents of Isla Vista–with the goal of creating solidarity and inspiring grassroots activism leading to a higher quality of life across our community.  These events brought together dozens of students and community members who shared their experiences and inquired about ways to get involved in ongoing grassroots organizations and projects in Isla Vista, such as Food Not Bombs and the Isla Vista Food Forest. 

March 11, 2023: Ecology and Economy in Isla Vista Part 1

Our first event consisted of a walk through the North Campus Open Space to the Isla Vista Food Forest, with educational narration about our local ecology and it relates to greater systems of colonialism, development, linguistics, and supply chains, among others.  This lesson focused heavily on the idea of the commons as it relates to land, resources, and information, both in Isla Visa and around the world.  Several attendees remarked that the workshop’s content significantly changed the way they looked at the natural world around them and expressed the desire to continue learning about the topics introduced. 

April 29, 2023: Food Insecurity and Food Sovereignty

This workshop consisted of a discussion about food security vs food sovereignty, and detailed examples of food insecurity weaponized as a mechanism of social control, especially in colonial contexts. It examined how and why Isla Vista is classified as a food desert, and dove deeper into other examples of food deserts in the US. In addition, it highlighted food sovereignty movements such as Los Campesinos, who coined the term “food justice”, and compared agricultural systems in the U.S. and around the world. 

May 7th, 2023: Film Screening of Agroecology in Cuba

In this event, GLC hosted a showing of the award-winning documentary Agroecology in Cuba by Juan Pablo Lepore and Nicolas Van Caloen.  This film showcases interviews and footage of Cuba’s unrivaled organic farming movement, including cooperative urban farms, complex rooftop gardens, and lively street markets.  The interviewees explain in great detail how the agroecological reforms of the last few decades in Cuba have dramatically improved human health, the environment, and the local economy. 

May 15, 2023: Decommodified Housing Part 1

Discussion topics included the history of housing legislation and development in the U.S., particularly following World War 2, with respect to segregation and redlining which prevented Black and Latino families from acquiring stable, safe housing to the same extent as white families. We discussed alternatives to traditional rental structures by introducing the history of cooperative housing in America, and how the Santa Barbara Student Housing Co-op began and continues to operate. Additionally, this workshop included a section on cost efficient and environmentally friendly urban design, including densification and public transportation.  Attendees noted varying levels of familiarity with the SBSHC and inquired how they might be able to join and contribute to its ongoing mission.

May 21, 2023: Decommodified Housing Part 2

The second part of the Decommodified Housing lecture series featured a deep dive into housing structures in past and contemporary alternative economic models from around the world, including the Nordic countries, China, the USSR, Yugoslavia, Vietnam, and Cuba.  The workshops also detailed the often ruinous economic, social, and environmental impacts of Structural Adjustment Programs instituted by the International Monetary Fund and The World Bank. Special attention was paid to the ways in which grassroots, largely women-led, resistance movements in Africa and Latin America have shaped the 20th and 21st-century histories of these regions.

May 28th, 2023: Film Screening of Owned: A Tale of Two Americas 

Our final event for the Spring 2023 quarter consisted of a screening and discussion of the film Owned: A Tale of Two Americas by Giorgio Angelini. Owned unearths the complicated, painful, often disturbing history of housing policy in the U.S., shifting the perceptions about what the idea of home means. This film was intended to reinforce the topics discussed in our first Decommodified Housing workshop while introducing new perspectives from those impacted by the ongoing housing crisis of the 2008 mortgage collapse. 

Tony Series decom abroad film