New Year's Resolution

Hello this is Kuwu and Paul from the Youth Enterprise at MAP the Massachusetts avenue project. Our New Year's resolution for 2012 is to go as green as we possibly can, which means we plan on doing so much to help our environment.  We also have a few New Year's resolutions so easy that
you'll have no excuse not to keep them.

1. Use a bike for short trips-Using your bike for short trips reduces the amount of money you spend on gasoline and car maintenance, and increases your fitness level as well.

2.Buy from farmer's markets instead of groceries stores-buying from a farmers market helps our environment because it's local and no chemicals and it gets the most money to the people who grow our food.

3. Eat Smart- if you eat meat eat one meatless meal a week because raising beef, pork, chickens and other meat we eat has high costs to the environment, and our pockets as well.

4. No bottled water- do not buy water;  buy filters and filter your own tap water because plastic bottles make up a large amount of container waste.

5. Borrowing- instead of buying your own personal book, borrow from a library this helps save our beautiful trees.

Hello from Desyonna-Growing Green Works!

Hi, my name is Desyonna. I work for MAP for Growing Green's youth enterprise. I have not yet been here for a year but so far the experience has been great. During my time here I have been to work on our urban farm, I've sold our youth enterprise products at community fairs and holiday bazaars, I helped greet riders at our annual Tour de Farms event for a half way pit stop and much much more. Doesnt that sound like alot?? But thats just a part of what we do here. We also talk alot about ways youth can make positive changes in our communities. Helping people get healthy organic foods that they can afford, helping politicians see why its important to support local farms and what we need to do to put people and the planet first, not corporations. This is a great first job for me. Everything we do helps us learn skills and make the situation better for our communities. Its not easy being a leader but it is good to feel like what I do helps others. I am proud to work at MAP and work with other teens to decide what kind of future we want to create. I wasnt sure what my first job would be like but now I know and I enjoy every moment of it...

Hello from Kuwu at Growing Green Youth Enterprise

hey, my name is kuwu kabah and i am a youth employee at growing green. I've started working at growing green in July 2011. there are three different groups and they are the outreach group, business group, and farm group. during the summer i had the opportunity to work in the outreach group and in this group we were in charge of making posters and making videos to show what our goal is at growing green. this fall i was selected with 10 other youth to continue working for the School year program. this fall i'm apart of the enterprise group also known as the Growing Green Works. since I've started working with the enterprise group I've learned so many things about business, like break even analysis and how to do market research for a product. We finally produced our Raspberry Apple Cider Vinaigrette and its very good. It is not available in stores yet but give us a call if you'd like to order some 882-5327 ext 5.
I have learned a lot that i didn't know before. when i first started selling our products i was very shy and a bit scared to speak to our costumers. my supervisor Zoe taught me so much about communication, persuasive speech and presentation and has been very patient with me. now i can speak in public and sell products out in the markets with out being nervous. I've also learned a lot of information about the foods that are being sold in groceries stores and i believe that everyone deserves to know these facts because after finding out what I've been eating for so many years i felt very bad that I've stop eating things i thought were good for me when all along they were really harming me-like fast foods, factory farm fish and meat and foods with pesticides. once again I'm kuwu kabah and I'm a youth employee at the Massachusetts ave project ( growing green)

Want a Greener City Buffalo? Take it to the Green Code

Hi this is Patience Nimely and Ne’Shay Kennon reporting from the Massachusetts Avenue Project. We are the youth leaders of Healthy Kids Healthy Community (HKHC) Buffalo. HKHC is a partnership that aims to improve policy about healthy eating and active living. We recently attended the Buffalo Green Code unveiling of Buffalo’s Future Land Use Plan? The Green Code is a revision of Buffalo’s land use and zoning policies that will promote investment, create jobs, and improve the urban environment. It’s also a way to create a future development plan that maps the entire city by type of place. The Future Land Use Plan provided a draft of what will become of our city and what they have considered over the past years.

We attended the Buffalo’s Future Land Use Plan at Erie Community College to preview the draft that’s been prepared by the City of Buffalo’s Strategic Planning Department and consultants. The draft includes land use, new zoning, community environment, and future place type. To create the plan the city was divided into neighborhood groups where community residents were able to reflect, ask questions, and give comments about the draft. On Saturday we spoke with Mayor Brown and news reporters about our personal experiences as youth in our communities and our comments on the plan.

We were proud to be a part of the process and to voice our opinions on what matters to us. We found the plan to be a good beginning but it also left out some important points and solutions. We were pleased to find reinvigorating public health as a part of the draft. The plan promotes developing grocery stores in low income areas. It also expressed the allowance of urban agriculture in high-vacancy neighborhoods. But we feel community gardens and urban agriculture should be promoted everywhere, not only can these spaces be used for education and nutrition for the people but they also improve neighborhoods aesthetics and divert water from overwhelming our sewer systems.

The plan implies the temporary support of vacant land to be expanded for further usage. With 23,000 vacant lots and buildings in Buffalo, there are more benefits to developing a percentage of them as urban green spaces with long term land use. The plan talks about colleges and universities but we didn’t see anything about high schools or school zones but there are more than 60,000 teens under 18 years old in Buffalo and we think there should be special guidelines to lessen the amount of liquor stores, fast food restaurants and places selling only unhealthy food in those areas. Also we have to get the places that produce and store toxic chemicals away from where people live, work and play, so we suggest moving them to places away from housing, schools, businesses and recreational areas.

In the future we will try to push for the allowance of market urban farms to establish and maintain a farm stands for the sale of crops grown onsite. We want the city to make transportation less difficult for people of all ages and disabilities. Biking and schooling routes should be well lit and made to be safer. We want to encourage schools to provide healthy foods and corner stores to sell fresh produce but they need help to make that happen. There should be codes to reduce the sales of alcohol and tobacco near high-crime areas, schools and parks. We hope others will join us in talking about the importance of farmers markets, mobile markets, urban farms, and community gardens. We have a full list of what we have submitted to the Green Code Land Use Plan below so please take a look and if you support those things too visit www.buffalogreencode.com and say so! Really it’s important.

MAP/HKHC Green Code Community Health Priorities

Public Health

· Establish more protective housing, development and health codes that address Public Health Issues including mental health, fall prevention, obesity, indoor & outdoor air quality, water quality and environmental health; focus on housing, worksites and schools

· Require developers to provide a mix of housing and development types and affordability levels.

· Use conditional use permits and adopt “deemed approved ordinances” to improve community health through enhanced health standards

· Maintain buffer zones separating industrial or transportation corridors from sensitive areas

· Update building codes to incorporate green building principles, standards, etc.

· Promote increased public space suitable for active & passive recreation

· Restrict approvals for new retailers selling alcohol and tobacco for offsite consumption near high crime areas, schools and parks

· Create healthy school zones (inclusive of allowable uses and restricted uses that promote health habits –limit the amount of unhealthy food sources as a percentage of total commercial activity, provide permit/tax incentives for corner stores to carry healthy food, create districts for community gardens and urban agriculture sites to be centers for learning near schools

Active Living

· Adopt mixed-use residential, commercial and office zoning where appropriate

· Require walking, biking, wheelchair access facilities in all new developments; adopt pedestrian, bike and wheel chair accessible design codes for the city

· Establish parking maximum (vs. minimum) requirements, incentivize permeable parking materials used in new/existing construction

· Ensuring zoning appropriate for existing and potential bicycle and pedestrian routes, and comply with existing Complete Streets Ordinance

· Establish building design codes/guidelines that require parking in the rear of buildings; design codes should promote attractive and well lit store fronts that encourage pedestrian activity and public safety

· Require land setbacks and public access on all new waterfront development activities

Food Access

· Permit for the establishment of grocery stores (and other fresh food vendors) in underserved areas; provide fast track permitting for grocery stores (and other fresh food vendors) in underserved areas

· Identify sites for farmers markets, mobile markets, urban farms and community gardens

· Limit the number of unhealthy food outlets within all residential neighborhoods

· Permit community gardens and urban agriculture as an allowable use in residential and commercial zones

· Permit community gardens, small-scale farms around schools for educational and nutritional purposes

· Community gardens and urban farms should be considered permanent, viable land uses - not temporary land uses-in most zoning districts/categories—not just high vacancy areas

· Urban Farms should be permitted for educational, research and/or commercial crop production purposes

· Allow for market urban farms to establish and maintain farmstands for the sale of crops grown onsite

· Provide incentives to establish urban agriculture production as an option for vacant land and other properties in designated areas

As the youth representatives to the Advisory committee of Healthy Kids Healthy Communities Buffalo we will push to improve and enhance our city for healthy people and a greener future. If you would like to get involved with our groups please contact us at (716)882-5327 ext4 or email us at hkhcbuffaloyouth@gmail.com

I Am a Youth and I Am the Food Justice Movement

I Am a Youth, I Am the Food Justice Movement:
Growing Green Youth in National Youth-Led Food Policy

Hello my name is Jordan Velasquez and I am the food justice movement. This July four youth from the Massachusetts Avenue Project and Growing Green, and our youth leader, Zoe Hollomon, went to Philadelphia to be part of the first youth-led National Food Policy Summit and declare the first ever Youth Food Bill of Rights. It was put on by Rooted In Community (RIC), a national group of young food justice leaders and organizations and the Urban Nutrition Initiative (UNI) urban agriculture program in Philly. Over 150 youth and adults came because we see what is happening in our communities to low income people, to farmer workers, to the environment, to animals and we DON’T accept it. We came to demand our Youth Food Bill of Rights and say that we need a better food system and we demand better from corporations and government. If you can read this then you can do something about injustice. I hope you read this and it inspires you to work for a better food system. We the youth, we are not just the future leaders, we are leaders today and we are making a change!

A lot of this started with RICs help, we had the Dignity Dialogues, where the youth spoke about how people should be treated regardless of their age, ethnicity or how much money they make. Youth are the future and so we should be included in what the future looks like. Right now we don’t like what we see: people in poor communities not being able to get healthy food , farmworkers working in unsafe conditions, big fast food companies make millions selling bad food to us, animals being abused and unclean factories that make our food, and so much pollution and waste, don’t we want a world to live in in the future? I do.

Over our time at the Youth Food Policy Summit we shared our stories, we talked about our struggles and we said what wanted for the future. We came together and made a list of rights to help our food system be fair, just and sustainable. At our Day of Action, we declared the Youth Food Bill of Rights, and we told our stories and used art and theater to make ourselves known in a way people couldn’t ignore. It was amazing and you could feel that it was something really big. People came in from the street and from around the park to see what it was about. I presented one of the Youth Food Rights and even though I was nervous I felt proud of myself and all of us there. We challenged adults to join with us to fight in the food justice movement and had people come and sign our Youth Food Bill of Rights.

After the Day of Action we got into regional groups and talked about how we could each take on a few of these rights to work on from our communities. It could be getting nutrition education in schools or making policy to help people grow food on vacant lots, or starting a workers rights campaign, all of our regional groups will decide which Youth Food Bill of Rights they want to work on and can get support from RIC to help us as we do it. Our group from Growing Green decided to host a Youth Food Policy Laboratory October 15th and 16th in Buffalo to agree on which rights we want to work on and look at different ways to take action together in food justice in our region. We also will do an action with our state food justice partners in New York City for World Food Day October 16th.

Going to the summit I felt proud of the work I do at MAP and Growing Green. I also felt part of something bigger too. There are so many people who want justice and so many youth who are making change in their communities. We the youth are doing it. We are fighting for healthier food in our communities, we are working on policy, we are make better ways to grow food and not hurt animals and the environment. We are the food justice movement and we are just getting started!

To see the Youth Food Bill of Rights and sign on in support please go to www.youthfoodbillofrights.com If you want more information about youth and the food justice movement please go to our Youth Food Bill of Rights facebook page or Twitter page. You can also get more info at www.rootedincommunity.org or email us at MAP and Growing Green to talk about the Youth Food Policy LAB in October 2011 at hollomon@mass-ave.org.

Growing Healthy

Hi my name is Anabel Dieguez Ortega this is my first time working at Map. For the first couple of weeks we did alot of activities. During those we got to learn alot about each other and alot about the program. When we first worked at the farm we started our first compost piles for the farm. We harvested alot of fruits and veggtables and some eggs from our chickens.Wish we have sold them to restaurants and ate some at our fridat lounches. Some of the stuff we grow is sold at the farm stand in the neighborhood. I my self and others have worked for Lowes & Fishes wish is a soup kitchen that provides food for the less fortune. It felt really good to help others especially when they would say thank you. For the rest of the programs learned more about how to grow food and eat more local. So far this summer was a very good one and i hope to work here again sence I've learned alot. Growing Green it's a family that's one of the reasons why i would like to work here again. This has helped me to ear money to help my self and buy things that i really needed for school.

Hi my name is Josh

Hi my name is Joshua Ellis and I've worked for map for two summers. There are three groups and I'm in the youth enterprise group. For the first two weeks I learned how to make a business call and how to set the table for customers buying our products. We also learned about the food system and the economy. We also learned about food justice and how everyone should have the right to healthy food. Zoe and some other employees of MAP are in Philadelphia discussing a food bill of rights for America.

Factory farming

My name is Adriana Ragland. For school I wrote a thesis paper on factory farming. Factory farming is basically farming industrialized. These strong operations are able to produce food in high volume but they don't think about the environment, animal welfare, or food safety. Most of the animals in factory farms live in horrible conditions and are confined in dark over crowded facilities.
Factory farming started in the 1920s soon after the discovery of vitamins A and D, when these vitamins are added to their food, animals no longer require exercise and sunlight for growth. This allowed large numbers of animals to be raised indoors year round
. One of the biggest problems that was faced in raising these animals indoors was the spread of disease, which was fixed in the 1940s with the development of antibiotics. Farmers found they could increase productivity and reduce the operating costs by using machinery and assembly line techniques. In Factory Farming animals are not considered animals at all, they are "food producing machines". For more information you can visit the website Meatrix.org. Animals are confined to small cages with metal bars, ammonia filled air and artificial lighting or no lighting at all. They suffer through horrible mutilations such as beak searing, tail docking, ear cutting and castration.The reason this happens is because the animals start fighting due to these horrible living conditions. The animals are forced to live in small spaces that they cant live naturally.
Factory farming also has a major affect on humans.
Chemical, bacterial, and viral compounds of animal waste can runoff into our soil and water ways. After this happens it can immediately affect the people that use these resources. The main substances are ammonia, nitrogen, and phosphorus along with greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide that pollute air, land, and water. Animals on factory farms are given hormones and antibiotics to help with productivity. One example is recombinant bovine growth hormone, this is a genetically engineered hormone injected into dairy cows to artificially increase their milk production. Another concern is that injecting cows with bovine growth hormone may cause them to produce more of another hormone called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Animal studies suggest that elevated levels of IGF-1 in the bloodstream could increase the risk for some cancers, particularly colon and breast cancers.
I chose this topic because i believe the food that we take into our body is important and we should know where it comes from. This can help build up a healthier body. When you buy local you are able to know who your farmer is and their methods in food production. Buying local fruits, vegetables, and meat products, you support your local economy. More of the money you spend goes directly to the farmers themselves because less goes to transportation and middlemen. Buying locally also means burning less fossil fuels to get food from the farm to table,which helps the environment. Help to save the planet and people within it buy local!

Hi Bloggers its Anthony and Adriana here from Growing Green! Earth day is our blog topic this week. Earth day was established nationally by US Senator Garland Nelson to inspire and appreciate the earth's natural environment. We at Growing Green celebrate earth day every day-I mean really is there a day that we shouldn't appreciate the earth? The fact is that many people don't think about the environment, and how what we do has a huge impact on it. People should think of the environment and try to support its health, our future as inhabitants depends on it. We talked about how the earth is like a space ship, we all are on it and we cant go anywhere else if we trash it so we need to work together to think about how to make it healthy. How should we do that? Here are a couple things that we at Growing Green do to help support the environment.
  • We grow food in our community and work to get local food into our city as much as possible through our farm stands, mobile market and CSAs-thats where you can buy direct from a local farm--all these things = less transporting of food acorss long distances=uses more gas (non-renewble resource) and pollutes the atmosphere and adds to global warming.
  • We support local farms that are more diverse and chemical free. They often produce more per square foot than most industrial sized farms and care more about the quality of food and how its grown, plus they are businesses so if you want to support the economy dont forget to support local farms.
  • We grow organically and use creative ways to grow food that produces more on our half acre urban farm. We grow aquaponically, we compost and practice chemical free pest control methods so we arent poisoning our food or the land.
  • We talk to everyone about supporting fair food access, which is important because we have a lot of people who cant afford to eat healthy and dont have places to get it in their neighborhood. If they cant get healthy food its harder for them to have a fair chance to grow healthy and become tomorrows leaders.
  • Try to find connections between people who need healthy food and people who grow it-a smaller food system is more local is healthier for the planet. A healthy food system can help heal land that has been stripped and protects our water, soil and animals.
Our earth is important and we dont have to chose between having what we need and trashing the planet. Some people think that way--their kind of stuck in their minds. You can get involved and do the earth a big favor by BEING VOCAL & EATING LOCAL!!!

Growing Green jobs for youth

Urban farming can be used to create jobs for youth in the community. Growing Green is a great example, youth can come and learn about urban farming and food justice. One green job that GG has taught its youth is composting. We use scraps of food that we get from restaurants and the Erie County Culinary Department. We also grow fresh organic produce on our urban farm sell value added products to people in Buffalo and Western New York.
Growing Green spreads the idea of green jobs by hosting events such as our Spring Urban Agriculture training. This training allowed people from all across the country to come and learn about how to start there own Green Businesses, like aquaponics or niche market vegetables. Another way Growing Green spreads ideas of Green Jobs is by inviting people to our urban farm to learn about what were doing and why we are doing it. By spreading the idea of buying local we are helping to make the food system more sustainable.
Green jobs are the key to a better future for us all. They will help save our environment and boost our economy. The tools are avalibale to start alot a of green jobs everywhere we just have to be creative and provide the right education to the people.

Green Code Youth Ambassador Training

HI Buffalo and WNY! This is Anthony and Adriana from Growing Green and we're reporting back on our Green Code Youth Ambassador Training with Healthy Kids Healthy Communities last Thursday at the BNMC--that's Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. It was important to have this training for youth leaders because youth need to have a voice in how our communities are planned. We have good ideas and we will be the ones growing up there right?? We had over 50 people attend, learn about how we can use zoning to create better communities. We were at the Innovation Center at the Medical Campus and its was cool to be in such a modern building-we felt like scientists.

What's up world? this is Anthony and I think it went great. We had youth from all different areas of Buffalo including East Side, Riverside, South Buffalo, North Buffalo and of course the West Side. We formed different groups and created our own cities and decided what we would use the land for and where we would have residential, commercial, public services, industrial and other uses. We talked about fun recreational ideas for youth, more parks on the waterfront, gardens and urban farms in every neighborhood, even businesses out on Lake Erie on boats. We played urban experience bingo and got to know eachother thru our Where the Wind Blows game. I think the best part was talking about our dream cities--I had a laugh attack but Iliana helped me talk about our perfect city to the big group.

We learned the difference between a program, policy and project and talked about what we wanted to say at our neighborhood meetings.

Well this is Adriana and I thought the best part was talking about what we would change about our neighborhood. We have some vacant lots near my house and I think they should be used to build a beautiful garden for the community, it would make the street prettier and we could grow fruit trees like cherry, peach or pears. I talked with some college students and teens from South Park Highschool and we are all going to call each other to remind us about going to the Green Code neighborhood meetings.

Well that's our report and If you are reading this make sure you go to the Green Code meetings and let them know what you think about how we use land in this city. If we dont they might do something we don't want and you could have to live or go to school next to a factory--What?!?! That's not right. SO dont forget to go and check out the map(http://www.buffalogreencode.com/february-community-meetings/) for when a meeting will be happening in your neighborhood

MAP & Growing Green-- a hit at the 2011 Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference

Hello bloggers. Zoe here. Just back from presenting at the 2011 Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference with my fellow Green for All fellows. Hosted by the Blue Green Alliance, the conference brings together representatives from labor, environmental organizations and community non-profits to discuss a more sustainable future and green jobs. It was inspiring to see the combination of attendees, speakers and workshop topics all taking place at one event. For our panel, “Faces of the New Green: Models in Green Jobs Development Among Low-Income Communities & Communities of Color,” each of us described our work, our different projects and perspectives, keys to our progress, challenges and finally we shared critical questions with our audience about how to accomplish our shared goal –building a more sustainable economy for a future that we are proud to pass on to future generations.

As a youth development and food justice professional, I am proud to say that our issues related to food security and youth employment were echoed by people from communities in DC, NYC, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, and beyond. In our breakout groups It was uplifting to hear peoples’ praises in support of our work at MAP and feel the solidarity of sharing similar struggles.

I was able to make connections with other groups and individuals and get to know better the work of my Green for All fellows. At one workshop, I met several youth leaders from Manhattan Comprehensive Day and Night School, a unique school where youth can obtain a highschool diploma in 2 years and get green job training and skills for their future. I felt an immediate connection with the teens through their presentations and hearing their stories. It reminded me of our Growing Green program and we made promises to get in touch and see if we could build a bridge between our two organizations. Getting closer to some of my Green for All fellows and hearing about some of their best practices and challenges helped build our existing relationships and opened some new possibilities to work together.

What I parted with from this experience was a sense of alignment with thousands of others in the movement, working for better choices for our communities. I feel proud to represent my community of Buffalo, our youth and our work at Growing Green. My fellowship with Green for All has been a wonderful opportunity to see how diverse our movement is and what can happen when diversity is cultivated. I'm recharged and glad to be back home

The Farm Bill: How Policy impacts Our Food, farms and how to get involved

Hi Everyone! Abdi and Anthony Here from Growing Green. We have been talking about how policy can help us all have healthier food, healthier communities and a healthier planet. While we chose to write about the Farm Bill, a group of Federal policies that impact our food, our fellow Growing Greeners Adriana and Robert are writing about the Green Code, a local effort to make Buffalo’s land use policies more green and food friendly. Well we hop you enjoy and please vote for our blog entry if you think we’ve got good info.

What is the farm bill? The farm bill is the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the federal government. The comprehensive bill is passed every 5 years or so by the United States Congress and deals with both agriculture and all other affairs under the authority of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Some of the things that the food bill covers are:

  • The farm bill influences the federal food stamp program. The farm bill decides what food stamps can buy, how much they can buy, and were they can buy with the food products.

  • The farm bill covers policies that decide what food is in public school lunches.

  • The Farm Bill also impacts food and agricultural subsidies. A subsidy is a form of financial assistance paid to a business or economic sector. People who make high fructose corn syrups get more subsidies right now than the healthy food growers. The real prices of fruits and vegetables have increased greatly between 1985 and 2000 by 40%! Those healthy foods are now hard for the schools to afford and keep us in healthy shape. Due to big subsidies the healthy and necessary foods that we need are priced higher while the subsidized unhealthy foods, such as soft drinks, AKA liquid corn syrup, decline in prices by 23%! so even foods that are more processed and that require more labor to produce cost less. Take a look at your school lunches.

Why should we care about the farm bill? The Farm Bill covers a wide range of topics, including payments to farmers to support the prices for crops, nutrition programs such as food stamps, international trade, conservation, energy. So many different issues that it pretty much covers everything we eat, and grow! It is affecting because it is making it more difficult for people to get there hands on healthy food and is making it more difficult for farmers to grow the healthy food because they cant sell it. The Farm Bill isn’t the only legislation to address these issues, but it is one time when we have an opportunity to speak out on things that concern so many parts of our lives.

Who is responsible for deciding what is in the farm bill? Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency, The U.S. Forest Service, Great Lakes Basin Program for Sediment and Erosion Control, National Watershed Coalition are the partners of the Farm Bill and are responsible for things such as funding and finding more resources.

How can we get involved? The first step in taking action on the farm bill is to learn more on what the farm bill is about. Finding something that you feel strongly about will motivate you to get involved.

  • You can become more aware of how the food and agricultural policies have affected your food: in schools, in stores, for farming practices and economically. Take a look at the following movies about food: King Corn, Life and Debt, or Food Inc., Supersize Me, The Future of Food, Global Banquet: Politics of Food, Prince Charles’ Harmony Documentary, The Garden, The Story of Food, The Meatrix-these last 3 are good for kids! Try these books about food: Fast Food Nation, Omnivores Dilemma, What to Eat, Let Them Eat Junk, Stolen Harvest, Diet for a Small Planet, Stuffed and Starved.
  • Some great websites to get more information are: Foodsecurity.org, Foodfirst.org, Greenforall.org, http://www.greenforall.org/resources/healthy-food-for-all-planthing-seeds-of-change/, Smallplanet.org. On these websites they will tell you how you can learn more about the food system and how to get more involved in food justice issues and food policy.
  • Take a look at your school lunch menu. You can get one from your principle. If the choices for food are mostly processed foods or foods with high fructose corn syrup ask your principle or local school board how to get more healthy food in your school.
  • Another way you can get involved is by contacting a member of Congress and telling them how the farm bill is affecting your city or town and how they can change the bill for the better. For help finding your local representative go to: www.lwv.org once your there you can to over the take action bar, and click on find your representative.
  • You can also help support local farms by joining a Community Supported Agriculture program-where you can get healthy food direct from a local farm, volunteering at an urban agriculture organization, buying locally produced food from a farmers market, food co-op or grocery store or growing organic food yourself!!

When should we act? The farm bill changes every 5 years and it affects all citizens in the U.S. Congress begins discussion of the new Farm Bill two years in advance, the next bill should be coming out on 2012. Just like when you have homework due in a month. Should you wait a month to start working on it??? Probably not. If you think about it this policy affects so much of our lives, our health and our communities and our world. What’s more important than that? So whether its something big or small find something you are passionate about and do something about it today!