|Raising Youth: Growing Food, Justice, and Leadership in Your Classroom|
Will Allen, 6’7” MacArthur genius and former pro basketball player, grew up on a small farm in Maryland with no TV but plenty of food. In 1993, he returned to these roots to bring food to what Allen calls Milwaukee’s “food desert,” a part of the city devoid of full-service grocery stores but lined with fast-food joints, liquor stores, and convenience stores.
Today, Growing Power is one of the leading urban agricultural projects in the nation. They are more than just about growing food; they are about bringing healthy food to people, educating them about nutrition, and providing middle and high school students with hands-on opportunities to learn about vermiculture and growing crops.
Ask your students to identify their nearest food desert. If they could, what kind of food would they make available to these areas?
:: READ ARTICLE Growing Power in an Urban Food Desert
PHOTOESSAY A New Crop of Farmers
Joining a movement doesn't have to be radical. It can start with a step that's practical for you. The possibilities for becoming part of the local food movement are as simple as asking friends (and even some strangers!) to a local-foods potluck and buying local produce at a farmers market. Or, you can go out on a limb and have your students contact farmers, gardeners, and orchard owners to ask if they may “glean” free food—good food left to rot—providing fresh, nutritious food to community members in need.
:: THE LOCAL FOOD REVOLUTION 8 Ways to Join the Local Food Movement
LISTEN TO INTERVIEW Jim Haynes Invites the World to Dinner
Madhu Suri Prakash is keen to reawaken our connection with food, both physically and spiritually. As a child, she vividly remembers the spicy, aromatic foods from her mother’s kitchen, her rasoi.
Prakash believes that fast food has displaced this generation’s innate relationship with food and wants to restore the affection and care characteristic of the slow food generation.
Bringing it close to home, how many times a week do your students eat dinner at home with their families? Do they help in the kitchen to cook—not heat up—a meal with a family member?
:: READ ARTICLE Rajinder's Remarkable Rasoi
LISTEN TO INTERVIEW Madhu Shares Kitchen Secrets
Before 1993, one-fifth of Belo Horizonte’s young children suffered from malnutrition. Today those rates have decreased by 41 percent. Who would ever think that a Brazilian city of 2.5 million could eradicate hunger?
In Belo Horozonte, food is a right. From ABC markets—the Portugese acronym for “food at low prices”—to People’s Restaurants, where people can buy locally grown meals for the equivalent of less than 50 cents, to produce trucks delivering fresh fruits and vegetables to urban and poor customers, Belo Horizonte is a place where everybody eats.
Your students will marvel at how this city feeds its citizens without food stamps or other government aid. If your students had limited access to food, how would they feed themselves? Can they imagine implementing a system like Belo Horizonte’s in their city or town?
:: READ ARTICLE The City that Ended Hunger
:: GET LESSON PLAN Download our Visual Literacy curriculum for this photo.
The above resources accompany the March 2009 YES! Education Connection Newsletter