The People's food Movement

My name is Gabriel, and I am part of the citizenship and organizing group at Massachusetts Avenue Project. This April we hosted The Peoples Food Movement, which is a community focused event which was focused on educating the community, fellow MAP youth, and other attendees on many different food issues, action items, and advocacy opportunities and bringing “good food” to Buffalo communities.

The event, in my opinion was both educational and fun. When we first got there we were introduced with welcoming remarks by Alexander Wright of the African Heritage Food Co-op, Candace Moppins from the Delevan Grider community center, and Councilman Ulysees Owingo Senior. Us MAP youth were then given “scavenger hunt” sheets, which asked us questions pertaining to different action items at the event, as a means to get us to learn about all the different issues that were being taught about at the event.

One thing that I learned about and would like to recommend other people to learn about would be the Good Food Purchasing Program, which is an intensive program that is being promoted to different institutions to help them purchase from, and value ethical food production. Overall I would recommend the event to anyone in Buffalo to help them further their understanding of food issues prevalent in the communities around them.

The peoples food movement

By Sophia B

It was a very rewarding and informative event; I was impressed on how many people come out to support MAP and at the same time get involved in the community. The event had different initiatives that different organizations were working on and it was very interesting learning more about it.

My involvement in the event was I had to Translate to Swahili speakers from journeys end refugee services who were interested and wanted to get involved in the food system. While I was explaining to them the different projects that were introduced at the event, one that really caught their attention was what some organizations are trying to do for immigrants to help them feel welcome and included. For instance, the west side Bazaar, which is a collection of different international businesses supported by west minister economic development initiative. This organization supports new Americans start and hopeful own a business.

As I was translating and introducing them to different initiatives one comment that they kept emphasizing to me is that they wished there was a farm that would allow them to plant international foods while also teaching them how to use different tools on the farm that they have seen here but not back home. I thought it was a really interesting idea and could have probably been passed as an action item.

What I also did at the movement is I participated in a skit with other MAP youth; we were expressing the power of people’s voice and the change we can make if we joined and worked together. All in all it was a wonderful experience and I am glad I got to be part of it. It’s also sad because it might be the last project that I get to work on with MAP.

The big day

By Caleb G

It’s finally the big day, we have spent about 5 months preparing for The People’s Food Movement and still I don’t feel completely ready. But I’ve learned in my years of MAP that you are never truly ready for a big event when it comes to planning. My fellow coworkers have all just slapped together a short skit that I honestly can’t wait to see unfold, I’m not saying I want us all to fail; but I am saying I’d liked to see some embarrassed faces. The People’s food movement was a organizer’s lucid dream, all the big heads were there like, the Cornell Cooperative Extension, The UB Food Lab, Grass Roots gardens, ETC. I really important part of this movement is too inform the community on what they could and should be doing to support local food systems so we had mainly important people not only going around but speaking directly to the people on action items they can go home right that moment and do to help aid the food system. I personally was asked to stand up and speak to the community to help explain the youth’s extremely short skirt, it was a challenge because I had not yet prepared a speech and did not plan to do so, a bit from procrastination but mainly I was advised the best speeches come from the heart and cannot be planned.

We were tasked with speaking with the community on what they thought of our presentation boards; which are large posters of multiple actions items in different parts of the food systems that citizens can take, That seemed very interested in the fact that people went through so much trouble to help make it clear and simple to understand.

A project called People’s Food Movement

I am Ingabire Adam and I work at Massachusetts Avenue Project. Youth and Staff at MAP came up with a project called People’s Food Movement. It’s purpose was to encourage more people to get involved in advocating for food system change.

In order to get our project done we went through a lot of things. Some of things we did was we had to create a skit, which was about the HYPE kids who advocated to get salad bars in schools and eventually got it.

We went canvassing to inform people about the event and us as MAP youth and the things we do and also invited stakeholders .We created invitation letters etc.

Finally on April 8th is when the event was held at Delavan Grider in a gym. We had chairs and food for the people who came. There were speakers who spoke to us about the importance of healthy food and the advantage of having healthy food sold in Buffalo. We had the walls decorated with charts which had informational facts about food. What I got from the event was that in order to achieve something one has to work for it.

[Roxane Gay]

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

By Caleb G

Maybe you've heard of the UB Speaker Series? It's when the University of Buffalo brings in these influential people from all walks of life. From transgender entertainer LaVerne Cox, who so far has been by favorite speaker to Eric Holder the former Attorney General.

This time around a woman known as Roxane Gay came and read a sample of her new book. Now the auditorium was so huge I could not see her,  but I could definitely hear her as she read different mini-stories from her book. Roxane is so witty and comfortable in her own skin - she was oozing female empowerment. The number one topic she spoke about during her time at UB was:
just because she is a person of color who also identifies in the LGBT community, does not mean she knows how to solve the worlds problems, and being a part of an issue does not mean you have to shoulder all the responsibilities of the solution.
Roxane Gay was vulgar gross, masculine, witty and blunt, but most of all she is a woman redefining what that means. Seeing a woman so successful and full of life brings a sense of hope for the girl next to me. My close female friend - who identifies as a queer woman of color - has the same chance of success and happiness.

My Buff State Experience

By Win T

What I have done this spring that was meaningful was going to Buffalo State College. I went because I wanted to know more about college - even though I will not be attending this school, it's good to keep your options open. I went there with my sister (Thaint), Ingabire, Gabe, Isabella and Bekah. When we arrived, we were greeted by three college students that were enrolled at Buff State. Damien, who wants to be a vet, Jillian who wants to be an artist and Monica who I don't remember much.

They gave use tips on what to do and what not to do during college. An example is 'do not procrastinate!' I connected with Damien the most because he wants to be a vet and I also want to be a vet. After talking, they took us on a tour around the campus and the different departments they offered.

Towards the end we went to eat lunch at their campuses buffet. I had friend chicken, chicken curry with rice, tater toots and a toasted bagel with cream cheese. Overall, it was super fun and I liked it because It was very educational. Also, it made me think about my future in depth.

Mallory Talks

My favorite event that happened and that I was a part of, was when Mallory from Eat Smart New York came to the center and talked to the Nutrition & Enterprise group about portion size and then benefits of fruits and veggies. Personally, I like talks when it's informative. As a bonus, she brought snacks and gifts. One of the snacks was a light cream cheese with strawberries and blue berries on a whole wheat English muffin. 

Since I want to be a pediatrician I can learn from Mallory about diet. Listening to her makes me want to eat healthier foods and change my diet. She taught me the different benefits of fruits and veggies, such as carrots helping your eyes and onions help with your heart. Lastly, since she came, I've tried to stop eating in front of the TV. 

Distinguished Guests and Speakers

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

So, one fun thing that's always assured at MAP is that you'll always have fun and learn something new. One such example was the Roxane Gay speaking event at The University of Buffalo.

Every now and then the youth at MAP get invited to watch the month Distinguished Speakers Series at the University of Buffalo. I arrived at UB with all of my coworkers, plus by friend Micheal. We sat in during the pre-talk Q&A session with Roxane, where we were able to ask lesser known things about her, like her experience writing for Marvel.

After the Q&A we were treated to a wonderful dinner by Landrum and the Community of Giving Legacy Initiative, and then we had a fun little job around the art center to help kill the newly formed food babies.

Then we were part of a wonderful and informative talk by Roxane Gay, where she read some of her book "Bad Feminist" and a piece she wrote following the election. I learned more about how to view social issues through different perspective.