2017 Youth Garden Review: Our seasonal food calendar

All season we have been adding crops harvested from the youth garden to our seasonal food calendar. The first crop we harvested was spinach at the beginning of May. Thyme and oregano (not pictured!) were the last crops harvested in November just in time for Thanksgiving. That means our growing season is seven months long!

We harvested salad greens, including spinach, lettuce and tokyo bekana, during spring, early summer and early fall. 

We grew lots of green beans this year, and saved enough to plant in next years garden.

We grew 3 varieties of tomatoes this year - yellow cherries, amish paste and a soft, fuzzy type called peach. They were to top harvested crop by weight.

MAP's youth garden has always grown a lot of hot peppers through the years. This year we grew jalapenos, chillis and a few sweet yellow peppers. 

A lot of the kale harvested was from six plants that lasted all season. Early in the season we had big problems with flea beetles that ate little holes in all our brassica crops. To protect our crops we covered new plantings with remay.

Leeks were one of the first crops transplanted in the spring. At the end of the season we harvested 20 pounds of leeks that went home with teens.

2017 Youth Garden Review

Meet Aye!

Photo by Birch K
Hello, my name is Aye and I started working at MAP this October. I was born in a refugee camp on the boarder between the Karen state and Thailand. In middle school I took violin lessons. I enjoy learning more about others and their background stories. I am a person who will lend you a shoulder to cry on when you're going through a hard time.

One thing I've done at MAP so far is attend the Thanksgiving Potluck. It is hosted by MAP and everyone brings a dish if they can. It is an event that helps bring the community together. We, MAP's employees, host the event in order to bring joy and happiness to the community. How did we do this? By inviting everyone in MAP's community to get to know our neighbors as well as enjoy each other's food or dishes. Through this event we help connect the community together.

We have a fun activity to do for guests. When they arrive they have to go up to someone who they have never met before and ask them what they're thankful for. By doing this it allows the community to start a connection with each other.

Over all, this is one of the reasons I enjoy working at MAP. MAP takes a role in improving the community. Not just only Buffalo, but the whole world. We took a stand and speak about climate change and how it impacts our environment, and how future generations will be impacted in bad ways. MAP cares about its community and its environment. This is why I am proud to be a part of this organization and enjoy every bit of work I do here at MAP.

Birch's NESAWG experiences

Photos and text by Birch K

So my NESAWG weekend had many great experiences. Namely, going to Capitol Hill, listening to a people's history and doing my second photography job.

The first day I set foot in Baltimore we went to a pre-conference day called youth advocacy day. Basically, the goal was for us to share the youth's opinion in various aspects of the Farm Bill. Our training was being held in at the United Methodist Building, the only non government building in all of Capitol Hill. We got a crash-course training on how to farm and how to tell our stories. We then connected them to a part of the Farm Bill. I told about by brush with food insecurity and connected it to the child nutrition program and SNAP. After that we went off to the Hill to talk to legislators that represent New York and Buffalo.

Bees are good for our community

Hello, my name is Myo. I'm into music, I love music and I play the alto saxophone. I was born in Thailand in the year of 2000. I am a friendly person and I help out a lot. I like helping because I feel good about myself - so it helps me and them. I want to be a police officer when I graduate. It may change, but I want to help the community. I worked at MAP during the summer and am working today. I like working at MAP because it helps the community and brings awareness to things that people aren't aware of like bees and why they should be noticed.

Bees are dying a lot and only a few people notice. Some people just don't care or don't know. Why should we care if bees die? Well, bees are important to us because they pollinate our plants. I'm talking about honey bees, not yellow jackets or wasps because people also call them bees. Wasps and yellow jackets sting and people think all of them are the same so they don't care if bees die. Well, honey bees can only stink once and if they sting you they die. So, honey bees won't bother to sting you unless you bother them. Bees are also good for our community because they make our veggies - like tomatoes and peppers - and our flowers healthy and fresh and strong.

Illustrations by Levi
Healthy plants are good for us because if we eat them we are healthy. Sure, plants need sun and water to grow, but don't forget that they also need to be pollinated. Bees play a major role in pollination. They make honey from our plants, and our plants get pollinated making strong crops. Bees also make honey, so be aware of bees and don't bother them.

I learned these few facts about bees by working at MAP. Now I'm not even afraid of bees and I don't bother them knowing they are good for us. I'm saying that once people know that bees are good for us people won't both the bees. So, spreading awareness helps us and the bees.

I'm pretty sure people want to know what's going on

Hi, my name is Dakota. Today I'm going to be writing about three things that were memorable to me at NESAWG. It is a conference and it stands for Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group.

One thing that was memorable was going on a plane for the first time. The plane ride was really scary at first, but it was okay. The first plane ride to Baltimore was really jiggly, but the second was much better.

The second thing was going to Washington DC. It took about an hour to get there by train. We walked a lot, and our feet hurt, but it was worth it. There were no blisters or blood, so that's a good sign. What we did is we went to Capitol Hill and talked with congressmen and staff that deal with food systems and agriculture.

The last thing I did was go to workshops. I went to my friend Amida's along with Birch and Lucy. What we did in the workshop was talked with one person that we didn't know about why you are here, what do you want to take out of the workshop and what does climate change mean to you. We also played a game where you would either disagree, or agree with a statement. One statement was 'our teachers teach us about climate change.' A lot of youth went to the 'disagree' side because their teachers don't teach them. I was really shocked because I think that every teacher and every school should teach about climate change because it is important. I'm pretty sure people want to know what's going on.

Nutritional workshops can help the community

Hello anyone reading this. My full name is Win Win Thu. I was born in Thailand and I came to America when I was two years old. I grew up and was raised in Buffalo, New York. I attend Buffalo Public Schools my whole life. Alright, enough about me, let us get to the main point of this blog post: participating in a nutritional workshop.

This fall we had a workshop by Brooke, a dietetics student. She asked myself and my coworkers if we had any questions and interacted with us during her workshop. Also, I always wanted to eat healthy, but didn't know where to start. With Brooke's help I feel ready. (PS Brooke, if you read this thank you for telling me that anything that rhymes with 'gross' is evil sugar!)

How does a nutritional workshop help the community you ask ask? Well, let me tell you! It helps the community by educating them about what they are ingesting just be reading nutritional labels. It educates them by telling them there are alternatives and healthy choices to eat instead. For example, instead of getting a bag of hot Cheetos, you can get pretzels as a healthier choice.  Communities such as the west and east communities in Buffalo go to corner stores to access food. Nutrition education classes also teach how to and why to eat a healthy, well balanced diet. If you want a long life to the age of 500 you should eat a healthy diet. :-)

Interviewing people in our food system

Hello, my name is Adian. I am dedicated and hardworking. I was born and raised in Buffalo. I worked at MAP this summer as a youth employee through the Mayor's summer youth program. I am the next generation.

This fall we were talking to people in person and on the phone about what job they have in the food system. For example: producer, processor, truck driver, or consumer. One lady we interviewed said she's a part of an organization where people in the community can ask to turn an abandoned lot into a space to grow fruits and vegetables.

I honestly enjoyed talking to these people because it was great to hear about what job they have and how they got involved in it. We also discussed with them if they have members in the community helping out. One guy we interviewed said yes, people from the neighborhood help plant, or help with growing the plants and vegetables. So that was good to hear because that means people in the neighborhood could be active in their community. This is why I enjoyed the interviews because everyone has different things they do in their lives.

Three memorable things at NESAWG

Photo by Birch K

By Thaint T

In November I went to Baltimore, MD for NESAWG. I was super excited to go!

The first thing memorable to me was getting on a plane. I was on a plane when I first came to the US, but since I was so little I don't remember it. This time was scary, but hey, I can finally say that I've been on a plane.

The second thing that was memorable to me was seeing Baltimore. It was great. There were some pretty scenes on the train ride. And the Baltimore train when up off the ground.

The last thing was when I learned that slavery was still alive under 'punishment/jail' in the 13th amendment. I was surprised because I thought slavery was abolished. That's what my teacher told me - nothing else. I learned about jail life in MAP before, but not that inmates are 'paid' 10 cents a day. I don't know whose spirit can survive with 10 cents a day. Learning about that really shook me. In my opinion, the government should put money for programs and such for inmates when they come out of prison if they want the 'crime rate' to decrease.

Looking through diverse eyes

Hello! My name is Isabella and I'm 16 years old. I love to do art and look for different ways to be creative. My favorite fruit is raspberries. I am going to write about a storytelling identity workshop we did at work. It was very intriguing to me.

One work shift I was surprised because my supervisor, Rebekah, told us that we would be learning about our identities and telling stories. She first told us to pick our a shell and share why we picked it. It showed how different we are for the different reasons we chose our shells. We then partnered up with someone we just met and had to give them eye contact for 30 seconds. It was so awkward! It was ok though because we all related by laughing during the eye contact.

Our supervisor then told us to tell our partners a store in our families. We took turns and got two minutes each. Ti was enlightening for me to hear what my partner had to say. When we switched partners, we had to take turns telling stories about love that we've experienced of witnessed. For the remainder of the work shift we read stories out of a book called ' Octavia's Brood' by Adrienne Brown and Walidah Imarisha. The stories relate to social change in a metaphorical way.

I think that work shift has been one of my favorites because I felt closer to my co-workers in learning their backgrounds and traditions. The stories we heard from each toher were also very interesting. I found it cool how the stories in the book also related to social change and had hidden messages in them. I would like to do this again!

'Youth vs Climate Change' a workshop at NESAWG

By Amida A

When I went to NESAWG this year I hosted a workshop session. My workshop was called 'Youth vs. Climate Change.' I wanted to learn what others thought of climate change and if they believed in it. One thing that I learned that that most people are aware that climate change is real. I felt so passionate hosting my workshop at NESAWG because I felt like I was contributing to the climate change movement by spreading awareness with others.

I had my co-workers Lucy and Birch who talked about different topics regarding climate change. Lucy talked about climate justice which is a term used to frame the issue as an ethical and political issue rather than one that is purely environmental or physical. Lucy talked about how climate change is affected our environment and how we are currently facing weather tragedies because of climate change. Birch brought up the food part of climate change. She talked about how the food we eat is being affected and how much pollution we are releasing though our food production.

My workshop was a success and something I was glad to have accomplished. The turn out of people was more than I accepted, which was good. I am so proud of myself for making a step about fighting for climate change, and for the NESAWG conference for giving people the opportunity to come together.

Hearing Terry Tempest Williams

Hi, my name is Nina. I go to Mckinley High School. I have 4 sisters and 2 brothers. I love eating raw carrots. Taking pictures of nature is one of my hobbies.

I'm going to be talking about the Babel speaker Terry Tempest Williams. She was a speaker that influenced me to see how nature is being erased in our generation. Terry Tempest Williams speech showed me that the next generation is not going to be like the last.

The first things that she said was that the dictionary is removing words that describe nature and putting in words like MP3 player and Twitter. This shows how we are depending on technology and loosing our main resources.

I was fascinated with her story about how the bisons were like one strong community. She said one of the old bisons was dead so all the other bisons came and surrounded him. This showed me how not only humans have feelings, but also other species like bisons. We don't need to ignore all the new technology, but also let's not forget about the main resource that we actually depend on. 

Win's highlights from NESAWG

Photo by Birch K
My name is Win, and I am a sophomore at Performing Arts. On November 8th to November 11th I went to Baltimore for a conference called NESAWG. A highlight from my trip was staying in the hotel. I liked the hotel experience because it make me feel responsible and like an adult. It was cool coming back and forth from the restaurant late at night or conference sessions and using my own key card to get back to my room.

Another highlight from my trip was going to Washington DC to talk to legislators. It felt so unreal that I talked to legislators and could express my thoughts and opinions to help change the world. Another reason why going to DC was a highlight is because I learned things I never new about our capital. I learned that it isn't a state and the land is owned by the government. People in Washington can own their house, but whenever the government needs the land the house is on they can knock on your door and you have to move.

Interviewing community stakeholders

My name is Lay Dia and I am 16 years old. I am currently a junior at Hutch Tech. I am intereted in traveling to other countries to learn and experience the different cultures in our world. I am very passionate to learn and experience things that relate to our community. The community is a place we all are a part of, so I believe each individual place an important role in shaping it the better or worse. If we all work together to raise concerns and awareness in our community, we can make a change.

This school year I decided to work at MAP and so far it has been an amazing experience for me. Throughout the week I work at the center and sometimes in the garden. One of the projects we focused on that really impacted by understanding of the community was interviewing stakeholders for an event called The People's Food Movement. It is an event to display the problems that our community is experiences through the eyes of stakeholders. Stakeholders are people in our community that can affect or be affected by projects we do.

One of the stakeholders that I interviewed by phone call was Beth Machnica. She is a Healthy Community Catalyst who works in the medical campus to promote a more healthy workplace for people. As I interviewed her I discovered that I am really clueless about my community and that I need to be more aware. I also learned about problems in our community that people are facing.

One of the problems she mentioned is the lack of vehicle ownership in our community. This issue really shocked me because we are living in the 21st century and who would have thought that owning a vehicle was a concern when technology is booming? I also learned that since people don't own vehicles they do not have access to supermarkets. This causes them to depend on corner stores for food, which cannot provide them with the nutrition that their bodies needs.

Through this interview I realized that there are a lot of people who are willing to improve our communities. For example, Beth said that she attends policy meetings and worked on a project to bring samples of healthy food to corner stores. But current policies do not allow her to bring food samples to stores. Even though we want to improve our communities there will always be policies that restrict us. This interview influenced me to believe that we have to have the perseverance if we really want to make our community better.

MAP has been a great workplace for me, I am learning every time I work and I know that in the future MAP will continue to open up my eyes to the issues in my community and much more.