The Food Project: Youth. Food. Community.

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Newly available curriculum, games, and research

We're happy to announce a wealth of new material on our website. As mentioned the other week, volunteer Jessica Yen spent much of her summer diligently organizing materials we use internally so that they could be useful to others.

New sections on the website resulting from her work:

Let us know if you find this material useful. Thanks again, Jessica!

 

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Rooted In Community conference

This past Saturday, attendees of the annual Rooted In Community (RIC) conference came down to our Lincoln farm for a full day of learning, sharing, and (of course) eating! 

RIC identifies itself as a diverse movement of youth and adults working together to foster healthy communities and food justice, through urban and rural agriculture, community gardening, food security and related environmental justice work.

Throughout two of the five days at the conference, youth participated in many different youth led workshops from human sculptures, video making and radio broadcasting to window garden making, public speaking and diversity workshops. For the other days, youth took tours of Cultivating Community, Lots to Gardens and The Food Project (i.e., 150 biking through Maine, working on various pieces of land, making meals together, etc.).

At The Food Project, a group of staff, alumni, interns, and assistant crew leaders helped lead the 150 conference attendees in the following:

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Day of Action!

Interns harvesting carrrots to distribute in Boston.
Interns harvesting carrrots to distribute in Boston.

Food Project youth (and a young helper) harvesting carrots.
Food Project youth (and a young helper) harvesting carrots.

 

Gabriella using a pitchfork to break up the soil around the carrots.
Gabriella using a pitchfork to break up the soil around the carrots.

Bunches of carrots ready for the wash station.
Bunches of carrots ready for the wash station.

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TFP Teleconference Series Recordings Available for Download

The Food Project is an organization focused on growth and development, of our crops, our youth, ourselves, our organization, and of others that we meet along the way. We have had many opportunities to collaborate on projects that support this focus.

One such project was our LIFT (Leaders in Food-Security Training) Teleconference Series. The series was a great chance for people from all over the country to share knowledge and learn from one another.

So much of the comments and information from these presentations and conversations is timeless and invaluable that we turn back to them occasionally as a key resource or training tool. Now, they’re available to download right here. Check out the topics below and let us know what you think.

Each recording is about 1 1/2 hours long and includes a presentation followed by open discussion. (Files are 5mb mp3’s and sound quality varies).

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An Open Letter to Michelle Obama

Dear Michelle Obama,

Congratulations on choosing to plant a food garden on the White House grounds.  Now imagine that mini-farm on the White House grounds being tended by youth from Washington DC!  Give young people the opportunity to contribute purposefully to their community by growing food for the hungry and caring for the land. The Food Project has been doing this for almost 20 years in the Boston area. What a great way to inspire other youth across the USA to literally see that the fruits of their labor can create change in their own communities.

Hire a teenage farmer and challenge all of us to engage in a new way of thinking, acting, and being. Teens from across the district, together as a team, will plant the seeds of cooperation, community and pride as they grow, harvest and distribute the bounty of their shared labor. We believe in the ability to inform a new generation of leaders by placing teens in responsible roles, with deeply meaningful work.

The Food Project has been guided by the belief that community is created by providing common ground - in toiling, harvesting and sharing of the bounty.   We celebrate collaboration, cooperation and the value of a hard day’s work. A White House Garden tended by teens from across the city’s social, racial and economic neighborhoods can inspire a youth movement across the land.

When youth experience the value of labor and service while building a diverse and effective community they discover and develop their talents, make friends and test themselves physically, mentally and emotionally. Inviting youth to serve and to take risks offers a chance to see oneself and the world differently and encourages the same in each volunteer, neighbor, and friend.

Thank you.

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Now What? Seven Priorities for the Food Movement in the Age of Obama and Why Young People Will Lead the Way

by Anim Steel

“Is a sustainable food strategy on Obama’s menu?” asked Derrick Jackson in a December 30, 2008 Boston Globe column.  Don’t depend on it, he concluded, despite some pretty encouraging signs from the Obama camp.  The new president will face serious “blowback” from the agribusiness industry, he noted.  That’s a lobby that Michael Pollan described as the second most powerful in DC.

So if Obama doesn’t lead the way, who will?  And even if he proves to be a champion of sustainable food policy, what will bridge the enormous gap between vision and reality? What will force revolutionary change all the way from Capitol Hill to the corner store?

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What do those farmers do in the winter?

onion seedlings
onion seedlings
By Kate Mrozicki, Farm CSA Manager

Yes, we farmers do work some in the winter.  Now it is care for the inanimate object on the farm, not the vegetables, that occupies our time. Coming home from a day of wrenches and repairs I found an old essay by E. B. White that summed up how I was feeling: “farming is about twenty per cent agriculture and eighty per cent mending something that has got busted. Farming is a sort of glorified repair job.“ That is certainly how it seems at this time of year when our hands are more likely to be smeared with tractor grease than creased with soil. Fix-it projects vie for our attention before the season begins- the water hydrant that dribbles when it should gush, the door that swings at an awkward angle, the green house heater that stubbornly refuses to fire up, the tractor tire that goes flat as soon as it awakens from its winter slumber. Fluids need changing and filters need cleaning. We are becoming quite fond of our liquid wrench, sledgehammers and ratchets. Sometimes the problems require a much softer touch. That heater malfunction turned out to be more of a zoning than a mechanical issue. Generations of birds had squeezed through the narrow grate meant to keep them out and taken up residence in the chimney, eventually cutting our heater off from the oxygen supply required for combustion. A tall ladder and a long stick were all it took to evict the tenants and their nests, allowing the heater to rumble to life again. Luckily, just as we were beginning to feel more like mechanics than farmers, seeding time arrived and now the neon green of emergent onions brightens our lives. Once again we have living things to care for, vegetables to cultivate, dinner to grow.

 

by Kate Mrozicki, Farm CSA Manager

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