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Radish journal #1


By Soliegh D

One thing that's been particularly meaningful to me this year is The Radish. Oh, how wonderful Radishes are, their beautiful fuchsia skin and crisp which flesh. We, the Farm & Garden group, went to Urban Roots to pick our seeds to grow this year. Going down the racks of seeds I knew what I was searching for - parsnips, peas, potatoes . . . . AHA! French Breakfast Radish 💗

Triumphant, I snatched the seed packet from the display and sprinted to the back table. I slapped it onto the table, thrust my finger at it and gave speech to the rest of the group to convince them to vote for us to plant it this year. In retrospect, I'm not quite remembering what I said, but whatever words came out of my mother did so with such passion and moving force (and possibly a threat) that nobody even questioned whether or not we should plant them. It was unanimous!

Oh, how I long for spring to come sooner; for the radishes to be plucked from the ground and the hear the glorious crunch of the crisp brassica being bitten into. Nothing says summer more than thinly sliced radishes lounging atop a piece of buttered and salted fresh French bread. Nothing tastes quite like a French Breakfast radish, with a rich yet mild taste, but still with that signature kick you can only get out of a radish. The sweet smell of a radish beckons me towards greatness, and always will until the day I die.

Interviewing Dan Ash from Farmer Pirates

Image source
By Maire E

This spring at MAP something that I found meaningful was interviewing Dan Ash from the People's Food Movement. He is one of the founders of the Farmer Pirates, which is a group of urban farmers. He specializes in the Farmer Pirates compost distribution service. I asked him questions all about the Farmer Pirates and urban farming techniques. The information I gathered was put onto information posters the People's Food Movement.

Through interviewing him I learned all about the importance of compost and how healthy soil can heavily impact the growing potential of your plants. This was extremely education for me as I am in the Farm & Garden group at MAP. We are currently learning about this at work and my understanding was broadened through this interview.

The interview with Dan Ash allowed me to have a more in-depth understanding of farming and what goes into doing it without pesticides and fertilizers that are used in commercial farming. We could use this in our garden by focusing on making the best coil we possibly can with compost and other methods. Healthy soil is better for the plants and those eating them.

Meeting Roxane Gay at the UB Distinguished Speaker Series

Photo by the Community of Giving Legacy Initiative who sponsor MAP's youth employees to attend the UB Distinguished Speaker Series.

By Birch K

Last week Thursday, I and a couple other MAP youth got the amazing opportunity to meet Roxane Gay in addition to attending her distinguished speaker talk. Most speakers have a pre-stadium informal Q&A session with a handful or UB students and other attendees. We were in what looked like a classroom, except there were three rows of armchairs - in addition to the regular plastic seats. After her introduction we got to have a bit of insight into her process as a writer and (occasional) speaker. As a growing writer myself, I asked her where her best criticism comes from. She replied that having an editor is very valuable to her. Unless she's indulging in a bit of narcissism, she said reviews are really made for readers, rather than writers. However, her writing was certainly not the only thing Roxane discussed. She also spoke about her guilty habit of watching Desperate Housewives, or as she put it 'skinny people misbehaving.'

She also talked about receiving internet hate. Aa a queer, black, womanist/feminist writer, trolls tend to send her hate. She told us that she mostly doesn't care, but some people make physical threats and that she 'wants to hide in her apartment all the time out of fear' but doesn't take it seriously.

After the Q&A session our troupe took a trip to the buffet on campus and ate our weight in food. Then we went to her actual talk. She was a bit unconventional in that she didn't have an actual speech. She read us some passages and answered audience questions. Her 'talk' was postponed from an earlier date, so there was a significantly smaller audience. Luckily, that meant two of us got our questions answered. I queued up and when I got to the mic Roxane remembered my name! She is a very funny, engaging person and she has a very reserved manner of speaking. It was a great change from the past speakers I've seen and I hope we get to attend more like her.

Meet Dakota!



Hi, my name is Dakota Blu. I go to Kenmore West. I'm also a freshman. I'm originally from Buffalo, NY. I've been working at MAP since summer 2016. I'm here at MAP to know how you guys work, and I wanted to work for so long, so this was my only chance. I really like it here.

What I've learned is that Buffalo has a climate zone and how the garden and the farm grow different kinds of fruits and vegetables; Also, about the healthy corner store issues. My favorite part of the job is going to the farm and garden and turning compost. My least favorite part is sitting in the meeting room because the lights always give me a headache and it's so loud all the time. I also don't like facilitating. A challenge that I face is getting my work done at a reasonable time since I get out of work so late. When I'm in school I'm always worrying about not being on time to work. My future plans are to go to college. I want to be a vet since I love animals so much (even though I'm not a vegetarian). If I'm not in work, I either play basketball with my cousin, stay at home and listen to music (K-pop) or I hang out with my friends. When I told my family I love K-pop I got my mom into K-pop too.

I think MAP is such a good working place, and I'd really love to continue working here until I'm a senior in high school because MAP has taught me a lot of things. I think working here really helped my socialization with people and learning to talk to new people. And, it helped me know that there's never a right or wrong question. MAP is a good place to work, and I would suggest signing up for the summer program to my friends so they could stop being lazy and learn something other than math, ELA, science etc.

Meet Isabella!



Hi! My name is Isabella Bianca and I'm currently 16 years old. I go to International Prep and I'm a junior there. Originally, I'm from Buffalo, but my family is Puerto Rican and Dominican so I kind of wish I was born in Puerto Rico. Potatoes kind of connect me and my mom together because we both love them with hot sauce.

So far I've been working at MAP  for almost a year - since the summer of 2016. I found out about it from my mom because, Rebekah, one of my supervisors, told her about the job. To me it seemed nice and fun so I started working at MAP and I like it. I've learned planting season for certain fruits and vegetables and how to harvest. I've also practice a bit of speaking in front of a lot of people. My favorite part of working at MAP is working in the garden or farm because I like moving around and doing things. My least favorite part would be facilitating because it's pretty intimidating to keep conversations going, running smoothly and being in charge.

Sometimes it's hard balancing school and work because getting to work on time right after school is hard. After high school I'm kind of hoping to maybe I'll get into Yale and be a person who helps people or have a job that travels. Outside of MAP I usually do lots of art, like pottery or do protests. That's how I give back to the community.

Meet Win!


Hello, my name is Win. My full name is Win Thu. I am 14 years old and a freshman at Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. My major is vocal because I love to sing, that's my passion. I am originally from Thailand. I am trilingual - I speak English, Burmese and Karen. I came to America when I was 2 and have been living in Buffalo for about 12 years.

I have been working with MAP for about 7 months and so far is has been great! I joined MAP because I want to learn more about gardening and because it's cool knowing that I'm only 14 and have a job. Also, that I'm getting paid to do things that interest me. What I have learned so far is to garden 😀 and to problem solve. My favorite part of the job is planting, gardening and farming. My least favorite is writing, turning compost and moving mulch. The challenges I face sometimes working as a high schooler is time management. Some days I have tons of homework and when I get home after work I am so exhausted.

After graduation I have so many plans. One, I want to go on a road trip on the day of my graduation to look around and see where I want to live. Second, I plan to move in with my boyfriend. Third, I want to go to collage. Forth, I want to travel, a lot.

Outside of work I don't really do anything. It's either I stay home and watch Netflix and shove chips in my mouth or go out and spend time with my boyfriend. I really don't know how I give back to the community, except growing plants with my supervisor Claire. I'm interested in food justice because people deserve the best and should be treated with equal amounts of food. My story relating to food is just sitting down with my family and sharing a meal with them.

Meet Messiah!



My name is Messiah Mclaurin. I am a freshman at Tapestry High School. I live in Buffalo, NY.

I've been working at MAP for two years. I like working at MAP because I have learned new things. Before I came to MAP I didn't know how to hoe, how far to plant garlic apart or what scarlet runner beans were. I have also learned how to work around other teenagers without being easily disturbed. Last year when others would be around while I was trying to do work I would complete get off task. Working here helps me have self-control.

My favorite parts about working at MAP are the 'Big Group Meetings' when all the teenagers and most of the staff come together on Monday from 4pm-6pm. In these meetings we mostly talk about unfinished conversation from the previous week. My least favorite part about working and going to school is that it makes me tired. Sometimes I don't get enough rest because I be up all night trying to complete homework. The hard part about having a job and going to school is sometimes I'm not always on time. I'm also only a minor so I have to depend on a public bus to pick me up from one destination and take me to the next. Not all the buses come on time, which can also make me late.

When I graduate high school I want to go to college and specialize in cosmetology. A cosmetologist is someone who does hair, nails and other things with beauty products. I also want to model. Sometimes I catch myself taking pictures for nothing. A couple months ago I realized I want to be a model. Most of the time when I'm not working my spare time goes to self defense. I personally like boxing. I think it's something my body is built for.

The reason I joined the food justice movement is because food is an important part of the human body. When people's food is messed with then so is one's health. I also like speaking on having healthy food in corner stores so parents and grandparents don't have to travel 1.3 miles to Tops market or Wegmans to get a fresh bag of oranges.

I am so passionate about food because your food choices can either help of hurt you. You have to connect with the food you eat.