As the Summer Program Coordinator, I am charged with coming up with learning activities for the students that will raise their awareness about their food system and how it relates to the broader picture of creating a sustainable community.
In the past we have done such things as breaking down the basic needs of humans (Food, Water, Community, etc) and discussed ways in which we were currently meeting this need and alternative way in which we could provide for this need (growing food, saving and conserving water). With our participation in the Mason Square Farmer’s Market the youth shift from being just the consumers to producers in their Community Food System. This is a powerful experience, not only for them but for their neighborhoods who witnes this happening in their neighborhoods.
Inspired by the book I’m currently reading, Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food“, I decided that this summer’s theme would focus on acts of reclamation centered around food. The goal being, to examine with them the relationships we have with food and reclaiming what was lost when we shifted, our lifestyles from interconnectedness to individualistic, from traditional diets to processed food-like stuff. Food was more than just food. Deep down, each of us knows this to be true.
So during the 8-week summer program of GtC we will look at, food As…
Food as Justice
Food as Security
Food as Community
Food as Culture and Identity
Food as a Revolution
and so on.
I’m hoping we may even take them to view the new film Food Inc.
What I would like to remain mindful of and show sensitivity too, is the food we may demonize or condemn in our lessons, may be the very food that some families are surviving on. How do we approach this realtity within our own communities? I myself, find that I dare not critcize members of my own family who struggle to provide sustenance for their families in the only ways that they know how, yet I am compelled to find a “delivery system” that works. I think, this is where I too, must be willing to be a student at times.