Birch's thoughts on attending NESAWG

By Birch (Sam) K

The first thing I attended at NESAWG was the People of Color Caucus. It wasn't so much of a presentation as a discussion. I also went to the first youth track and it was presented by the Youth Food Network. I remember also going to the networking session about millennials in the food system, though I don't remember the presenters.

This year I really got to learn about other youth-driven organizations. I was really inspired by the range of age and how willing everyone was to learn and teach across our generational gaps. I also didn't learn so much as get experience really going in depth.

Well I networked with plenty of people my own age and I think I’m really bringing hope back to Buffalo. Hope that the movement we love so much will be strengthened by our newly made connections. I also met a woman who will be giving me a summer farm job in Rochester so I will be bringing that experience back to MAP too.

Climate Change and Agriculture - a game of jeopardy at MAP

My name is Tristan Koch and I am a senior at Ithaca College. I am pursuing my undergraduate in Environmental Studies degree with a minor in Outdoor Pursuits right now. In order to graduate from Ithaca College’s Environmental Studies program there is a mandatory “Cultural Immersion” experience where you work directly with people from a different culture.

I wanted to do my Cultural Immersion experience at MAP because I have a passion for learning about food systems and working with youth. I have worked at summer camps for years, working with kids and teaching outdoor education.  As a white male born and raised in a suburban neighborhood, as soon as I learned about MAP’s organization I knew that I wanted to do my immersion experience with you all. 

During my time working at MAP I was tasked with leading MAP youth in an activity on climate change and agriculture. My research into the subject taught me that animal agriculture is very detrimental to the environment. I learned that a vegan diet is the number one way to reduce green house gases in the atmosphere. This research has inspired me to change my eating habits. 

Meat for $300  
Q:  What is the most environmentally damaging form of meat?
A:  Beef

The activity I prepared for the teenagers was a game of jeopardy involving what my research covered: agriculture’s impact on global warming. While some of the questions were difficult, I think that the game went very well. The lesson promoted teamwork and communication and also taught the teenagers about very important points. I think the only thing that could be improved in this lesson would be making some of the questions slightly less difficult. Besides that I think it went very well.

General for $200
Q: Agriculture is responsible for what percent of global deforestation?
A: 75% 

Final Jeopardy!
 Q:  Why does deforestation - an inevitable consequence of animal agriculture- result in more GHG's being trapped in the atmosphere? 
Do you know the answer to final jeopardy?  

Farmhouse Construction Week 6: Fenced in!

Once all the fence posts were standing and cured around the farm perimeter fence panels were hung.

The longest fence line starts on Brayton Street . . . 

. . . makes a few twists and turns along the southern perimeter of MAP's property . . .

. . . and finishes on Shields street, a block away.

Most of the fence line is board on board fencing, but the portions facing the street are metal. (A side note - the blurs of red in the photo above are red twig dogwood or Cornus sericea. This time of year, when the weather is glum and dreary, their fire-y red branches really stand out! They are a native plant to this area, and are often planted in home gardens.)

This last section of fencing was installed just this morning. Unlike the other sections of fence, this part was built and installed onsite. Doesn't it all look just amazing!

Coming up - moving a telephone pole, digging a very deep hole and other trials of building in the city (during winter). Stay tuned!

Farmhouse Construction Week 4 & 5: Setting fence posts

Part of this project is building a fence around the Mass-Ave property to help keep our farm secure. For the past few weeks fence construction has been marching around the property perimeter; sometimes in mucky clay mud, and sometimes in the hard cold. According to the two guys doing the work, it's a toss up as to which weather situation is worse. 

Once the posts were set in the ground, the concrete bases are allowed to cure for a few days. This takes a bit longer in wet, winter weather than it would during summer months. Once cured fence panels will be hung, and our growing space will be more secure!

Even a thin layer of snow can hide the vast swamps of mud that seem to dominate the farm right now. Soon this space will house construction materials, and allow access for a cement mixer or two!

My 2016 NESAWG experience

By Sophia B

The journey to Hartford Connecticut for the NESAWG conference was a priceless experience. At the conference I got to: meet and mingle with people from all over the state and out, make friends, and learn a lot - not just food justice issues.

Most of the activities that I participated in were part of the youth tracks. In these sessions we got to know what other youth were doing and what can we teach each other. In one youth track session we talked about the election, what we thought about the results and what our next steps would be.

At the conference we were able to give our point of view as teens. We discussed the power we have, or could have, in our communities to make important decisions. I got a chance to present about MAP and the work that we do. For instance, I talked about our farm, the youth garden, our organizing group and the initiatives that we are working on. And while other youth presented we got to learn from them too, like they learned from us.

The last session I attended was grant writing it was an introduction to grants - how you get them and how to write a good proposal. This session was important to me because some of the plans I have in the future might need funding.

The conference theme this year’s was ‘Tackling wicked problems in the food system.’ We learned how you can learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than you do from just getting the answer itself. This is what I hope bring back to Buffalo. Wicked problems cannot be solved right away, you have to study them, take them apart and tackle them step by step.

 As you can see the NESAWG experience for me was a time of innovation but also having fun and thanks for making this wonderful experience possible for me.