Food Justice Students Embark on Community Projects

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The radical thinking middle-schoolers in our Food Justice Program have been working hard since the beginning of the school year--exploring topics such as hunger and food security, what it means to eat healthy and the impact our food choices have both personally and as a community. They have interviewed their neighbors, mapped the food options available in local bodegas and supermarkets, evaluated advertisements and used photo and video techniques to document this whole process. Now it’s time for the students to create a community project.

The project ideas we have seen so far reflect the unique creativity of these serious, funny and talented kids.  For example, the group at C.S. 211 in the Bronx has chosen to create a Diabetes Cookbook, and they have invited their teachers, parents and other community members to work on it with them. Each week, a “guest chef” comes to class, and together they cook their favorite healthy recipe. Dr. May May Leung, Assistant Professor at the CUNY School of Public Health, has also offered to provide a nutritional analysis for the recipes so that the final product can be an effective tool in the fight against diabetes.

The group at P.S. 50 in East Harlem has been using their artistic talents to create a promotional video for the Food Justice program involving rap, spoken-word and dance. They found an experienced lyricist and hip-hop artist who shares their passion for community health and has offered to donate his time and experience to help them make a hit music video. They have already begun to choreograph step-dances and write rhymes about their favorite healthy snacks!

Finally, the East Harlem Center group is collaborating with a prominent local artist to create a food justice mural in their community. Together they will co-create a work of art that demonstrates their shared vision of universal access to healthy food.
 
All of these projects, along with their photography/video documentation, will be showcased in the final event on June 12 at Hunter College from 5 – 7 p.m. Stay tuned as the details of the projects, and the event itself, continue to unfold. If you want to get involved with our Food Justice program, contact at Kaitlin Dougherty at kdougherty@childrensaidsociety.org.

Written by Kaitlin Dougherty