The Food Project: Youth. Food. Community.

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MSN/Kashi video with Anna Lappé features TFP

The Food Project has had a lot of exciting visitors over the last few months and our youth have been the hosts for so many of them. As our season winds down and our last groups of volunteers visit the farm, it's exciting to show how much we can accomplish in just one day in the fields.

Please take a few minutes to watch this inspiring new video and think about the impact that a whole season at The Food Project has on our local food system and how you can be a part of it. Anna Lappé offers a great introduction, and this year's D.I.R.T. crew really shines.

Practical Guide to Healthier Living - MSN.com
Practical Guide to Healthier Living - MSN.com

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Weeder to Leader: Hien Vu’s Summer

Crew E
Crew E
 Hien Vu came to The Food Project looking for a summer job, and he left as a leader.

Hien, a 16-year-old Vietnamese boy from Roxbury, was not the sort of kid that you might peg as a go-getter. He was well intentioned and had a lot of potential. He also had a “too cool for school” attitude,

This summer, through hard, meaningful work in a supportive environment, Hien revealed a new side of his personality. He grew into a natural leader within his crew, keeping the group on track when friendly competition and games threatened to boil over. He began to express himself more, bringing in his family’s traditional foods to share with his peers.

By the end of the summer, he was stretching in ways no one expected. Hien gave a moving speech before a crowd of 200 at the end-of-summer Family Feast, explaining the ways in which his adult mentors at The Food Project came to serve as role models for him, in the absence of a consistent father figure.

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Interns in Action: Jamila's RIC experience

Here's an account from TFP intern Jamila Kibirige on her experience participating in last month's Rooted In Community conference:

On July 28, 2009 I had the privilege to attend the RIC conference that took place in Portland, Maine. There were three organizations that were in charge of the conference: The Food Project, Lots to Garden and Cultivating Community.

The role that I played was to lead the opening ceremony where we talked about safe space and I was in charge of a group of different people from all over the country in making up rules for the conference so that they can all feel free to share.

The conference was 5 days long and we had a lot of different activities to do. After we arrived that Wednesday we met the different groups and had the opening ceremony. The next three days we had the opportunity to do some fieldwork on the gardens of the three planning organizations. We got to ride bicycles and it was fun because it was a lot of people on bicycles throughout the city. We had a lot of different workshops too.

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Starbucks video highlights Food Project youth and farms

The Food Project and Starbucks recently teamed up to produce a video highlighting our youth and farms. Thanks to their continued partnership, we're proud to share this beautiful piece. You can see it at starbucks.com or here:

Starbucks supports The Food Project with funding for our youth programs and recruiting volunteers to help on our farms throughout the year.

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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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Get out your popcorn -- TFP videos are here

This summer, Harvard School of Public Health student Jessica Yen
worked with TFP to translate a vast swath of our curriculum materials into
web-friendly formats. While we have a few more tasks to accomplish
before unveiling the fruits of her labor, I'm happy to share another
project she accomplished: tracking down a number of videos about (and
sometimes by!) TFP and its participants, and converting them from the
various formats they happened to be stored on to something more easily
viewed from the web.

The videos are collected for your convenience on our new video page, and can
also be accessed through TFP's YouTube channel. Pop up some corn and
gather your friends and family!

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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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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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