Luz Calvo and Catriona R. Esquibel

Luz Calvo received their* PhD in the History of Consciousness Program at UC Santa Cruz in 2001. Luz is a professor of Ethnic Studies at Cal State East Bay, where they teach a course entitled, “Decolonize Your Diet: Food Justice in Communities of Color.” Luz traces their food genealogy to her paternal grandparents, who ran a Mexican restaurant in San Fernando, California, from the 1940s through the 1970s.  The Calvo business began when the grandparents began selling tacos to the cannery workers, with their grandfather purchasing fresh, seasonal ingredients from the LA Central market, and their grandmother preparing and packaging the tacos. In 2006, Luz was diagnosed with breast cancer. This diagnosis led Luz to intensive research on food and their commitment to eating clean, whole, organic food. For Luz, every meal is an opportunity to prevent the cancer from recurring. So far, so good! ([Luz pronoun preference is the singular "they."]

Catrióna Rueda Esquibel received her PhD in the History of Consciousness Program at UC Santa Cruz (1999). She is an associate professor in Race and Resistance Studies at San Francisco State University. She is the author of With her Machete in her Hand (U of Texas Press, 2006) and has also published poetry, drama, and literary criticism. Her father’s family has lived in northern New Mexico for more than twelve generations. On her mother’s side, her great-great-grandmother, great-grandmother, and grandmother all migrated from Sonora to Los Angeles between 1913 and 1919. Each of these women made a living cooking for Mexican migrant workers and Chicanos/as in Los Angeles. Catriona is interested in diet and diabetes because her father and many of his siblings were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In one generation, as they moved from New Mexico to Los Angeles, their diet went from grass fed beef, home-raised chickens, and home-grown vegetables and local herbs on the ranch to highly processed foods.

Luz and Catriona are grateful for their life in the Fruitvale neighborhood in Oakland.  They raise chickens and grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs on their small urban farm, as they study traditional Mesoamerican cuisine and work to create sustainable relationships in their community.