Food Justice

A Peacemaking Project by Kiley R.

What is the injustice we are solving?

We will solve the issues of the lack of access to healthy foods around our community. Also, we will be educating people on issues like hunger, and providing information about the root causes. Also, we have created a backpack program, where we provide food for children to take home on the weekends if they are unable to afford meals.

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of Food Justice
we will address lack of knowledge and access to healthy food
by creating an informative video on food justice and creating a community garden.

Our Project Plan:

Goals

  • We will create a video about food justice to spread awareness and to create a community garden to provide healthy food to the Winchendon community.

We will increase my / our compassion by...

We will increase compassion by spreading awareness about an issue that affects everyone. A lot of people think of Food Justice as an issue that does not really exist in the United States; however, that is not the case. We will want to make people more aware of everything going on in their communities.

How will you show courage?

We will show courage by working hard when times get though or get stuck and don't know where to go next. We will advocate for the injustice of food justice for those who do not have the voice. We will also create a healthy garden for the community for those who do nit have the access to healthy foods.

How will you collaborate with others?

We will collaborate with others by fundraising, asking for support, working with our school, working with the town, and working with who we intend to help. By doing all of these things, we will be able to target the correct audiences and supports who will be able to help us with our goals.

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

We will know that we are moving in the right direction by planning out everything we need to with plenty of time to do them. We have a class at our school for Service Learning Leaders, which Kylee and I are both the leaders of of the Food Justice one, where we do all of our planning for when we meet with our group. We know what needs to be accomplished to reach our goals and we are willing to take every step along the way to do so.

Key Steps

  • Send emails to locals in the community to ask if we can interview them.
  • Film students, teachers, and community members for our video.
  • Edit and get the video finalized.
  • Send out emails asking for donation for the community garden. Plants, compost, buckets, soil, shovels, etc.
  • Plant the garden and tend to it on a weekly basis.
  • harvest the food and give it to the group that provides backpacks to food insecure children in our community.
  • Share our video at the Community Action Day with people from the town and from our school

Reflection:

How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?

Our project helped our team understand how fortunate we are. We learned about the different struggles and obstacles that people from Winchendon and around the area deal with each day in regards to food. This project helped everyone understand the issues that are occurring. Our team now understands what a food desert is and why it is important that everyone has an equal right to eat.

How did your community change as a result of your project?

Our community changed as a result because they have seen the world in an entirely new perspective. We realize how lucky we are, so our community was affected when they realized how unfortunate some people are. Our community will have a place to get healthy food for cheaper. Many people would spend half of the money they had on gas trying to get to a grocery store, so I believe we are saving a lot of people.

How many people were impacted by your project?

100

Explain how you came up with the number of people impacted by the project?

My team is made up of about 20 students and every week we pack backpacks of food for over 80 kids. Combining these two numbers I came up with 100 people because I believe the kids that we are helping now will bring their families to the garden so they can get healthy foods. The snacks we put in the backpacks are not always the healthiest, so it is important that they come to the garden to receive the nutrients they need.

How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?

My partner and I attended a town meeting in Winchendon where we learned about hunger and the issues it has on the community. Through this meeting we heard different community members speak about their experiences and other peoples experiences from town. At the end of the meeting, we talked to a bunch of people which is how we learned about the people affected by the food injustice. After the meeting, we went back to school and informed our team of what we learned.

What did your team learn?

We learned about Winchendon and how it is a food desert. There is no local food store, so most people have to shop at the cumberland farms downtown. At cumberland farms there is no access to healthy foods, there is only processed and junk food. Also, we learned many statics about hunger in Massachusetts, the United States, and globally.

What challenges did your team overcome?

We overcame the challenges of bad weather at times. The weather this year was very unpredictable, so it was always hard to tell when we would actually be ready to get into the garden to plant.

How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?

We haven't involved anyone else yet; however, we are hoping to in the future.

What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?

My advice to someone would be to try as hard as they can and to not be afraid to fail. It's okay if your project doesn't succeed the first time around. The part that matters is your reaction to it. You need to be willing to get back up and try again to make a difference in the world. Even the smallest actions can make a big difference. Keep fighting for what you believe in because failing is better than doing nothing at all.

Our Updates:

Community garden in progress

Kiley R. 29 May 2018 22:51 My Service Learning group at school has been working hard over the past  month and weeks to ensure that our community garden will be all set for next year. We have worked in the garden a lot, weeding and watering. We planted a bunch of plants including garlic, tomatoes, herbs, and squash. With students from our school, we set up a watering schedule so everyone has the opportunity to work in the garden and make a difference. We are currently in the process of making a new hose system to make watering the plants easier and more efficient. Also, a system for the summer is being formed so the garden will be in good shape for the start of the school year. Our video was also shown to our entire school. I think it came out really well and lots of people liked it. We are continuing to spread awareness about the injustice of food throughout our school and the surrounding community. We are grateful for the grant that we received because it allowed us to start our garden and buy the plants we needed. Also, we used some of the money to buy new hoses to set up our new system. We are saving the rest of the money for the summer and the start of the school year for anything we may need, such as more plants. In the future, we are hoping to expand our garden, making it bigger to help more people in the surrounding towns. It is always good to start somewhere though, so we are very happy with what we have accomplished so far. Check out our pictures! Thank you! 

Comments:

Kelsey T.
5 June 2018 10:31

Hi Kiley! Congratulations on finishing your peacemaking project! Thanks for your amazing work and for taking time to share about your work.

Below you will find some feedback based on your Reflection, which we hope will help you to celebrate your incredible accomplishment and reflect on how to grow and develop your project in the future:

It was great to read about the success of your community garden and seeing the photos you shared in the update! I love that your project had such an emphasis on learning more about food justice and spreading awareness about the issue which I think can help expand your impact over time as well. I'd also love to hear about how folks who have been involved in planting the garden feel about their experience -- I think growing food together can be such a powerful community building exercise! As you grow the project, I think it would be really powerful to think about how to create various opportunities for the wider community and the families who receive the backpacks to get involved in the garden at different levels based on their availability and interest - some might just be able to receive food, others might want to come to special events, and others might want to get stuck into the growing itself! This is such an exciting project with real potential to continue to grow and develop -- so excited to see where it goes!

Would you be able to share the link to your video with us (you can do this in an "Update" if that works for you.) - we'd love to see how it turned out and get a better sense of the content!

We hope you will stay in touch and keep us up to date as you continue your work to create change!  

Kelsey T.
2 March 2018 11:01

Congratulations! Your project has been selected to receive a Peace First Challenge mini-grant. We will be in touch soon with details about this payment.

The mini-grant process is also a space for you to get feedback on your peacemaking project. We hope you will use this feedback to further strengthen your project. Please see the feedback on your mini-grant below.

Strengths:
This is a wonderful project addressing such an important issue -- I appreciate that you have identified that in addition to needing access to affordable food, everyone needs more access to healthy food specifically. I think it is so important that a big element of your project is about spreading awareness about the issue of food justice as well as creating the community garden to directly respond to the problem -- excited to see the video! I think community gardens can also help to grow COMMUNITY while growing healthy food and is such a powerful tool for bringing people together. Your project plan is especially strong in terms of collaboration - I love that you mentioned that you will ensure that you are working with those who you intend to help, and also that you are connecting with members of your community more generally to create the garden and donate materials.

Things to Consider:
I see Raul has left some good ideas below about setting goals. I think it would also be great to change how you identify the "injustice" in your compassionate insight so that it is a bit clearer to folks who may not know about the issue of food justice -- we're hoping that in the first part of the sentence people will name the injustice they want to change -- but your project is actually trying to create food justice and respond to the injustice of unequal access to healthy foods (or food "injustice"), right? I also think it would be interesting to continue to dive into the root causes while you carry out the project -- while the lack of knowledge and access to healthy foods is such an important element, it would be interesting to explore WHY there is a lack of knowledge and lack of access currently... Are there root causes underneath the root causes you've identified that you could also begin to address through this project? This might also help you identify people in the community who may be contributing to this problem -- and think of ways to bring them into the solution for a more sustainable impact. Certainly the awareness spreading will be a start at addressing those deeper root causes, as well. I'm curious about if you've thought about ways to make this project sustainable over time -- how will you support the local community to keep this community garden going after the initial creation?

So excited about this awesome project -- looking forward to hearing how it goes!

Congratulations and best of luck with your project!  

RaulPF C.
2 March 2018 10:43

Hi Kiley!
Thanks again so much for posting this project.

As part of the Peace First project-making process, we give formal feedback on your compassionate insight:

"To solve this injustice of Food Justice we will address lack of knowledge and access to healthy food by creating an informative video on food justice and creating a community garden. "

I really like the fact that you have identified a practical way to reach lots of people to try to solve such an important issue. I also like the fact that you are going to talk to so many stakeholders as part of creating the video.

In addition to what Adrian mentioned below, a way that could potentially improve what you are already planning might be to have some goals that help you know if you are moving in the right direction as well as ways to get more clarity if what you are doing is working.

We have a tool that you can use to develop your goals: https://www.peacefirst.org/resource/plan-1-smart-goals

And in terms of indicators, I think it would be great to think about a simple way to ask people about how watching the video changed their perception of the injustice. There are many other ways to do this but this could be a way to ensure the video is achieving its desired purpose.

I am so looking forward to seeing what the final video looks like!

Raul  

Adrian B.
22 February 2018 14:25

Hi Kiley!

Thanks so much for posting this project. Food justice is an important issue--your work literally can help save lives! I love that you’re thinking about educating people about the root causes behind hunger, and that simultaneously you’ve started a backpack program for food. Great work!

At this stage of your project, we encourage you to take a deep dive into understanding root causes--which will also support your educational work when you start working with others to increase their understanding. One thing that can help deepen your understanding of this issue is interviewing people who don't have healthy food, people who cause this injustice (who create the situation where people don't have healthy food), and people who are already working to end this injustice. Here are some resources for doing that: https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/test-project-3/dashboard/understand-injustice

And some organizations that work on food justice:
https://foodforward.org/2016/04/what-is-food-justice/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI0vmDrc2Z2QIVhq_ICh2IAgM3EAAYASAAEgIMRvD_BwE
https://civileats.com/category/food-and-policy/food-justice/
http://justfood.org/advocacy/what-is-food-justice
http://thefoodproject.org/about
http://thefoodtrust.org/uploads/media_items/access-to-healthy-food.original.pdf

It can also help to do some reading on your own--here are a few resources I found useful:
https://www.healthlibrary.com/book15_chapter156.htm
https://hellogiggles.com/lifestyle/health-fitness/many-americans-dont-access-healthy-food-massive-problem/
https://www.colorlines.com/articles/why-more-americans-cant-access-healthy-food
https://www.ucsusa.org/our-work/food-agriculture/solutions/expand-healthy-food-access#.Wn35zJM-fBI
https://grist.org/food/food-access-is-a-big-problem-for-many-native-nations-heres-how-one-community-is-fighting-back/
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/don-hinklebrown/access-to-healthy-food_b_4822735.html
https://www.cnn.com/2017/05/16/health/healthy-foods-confusion-study/index.html

You can also invite others to participate in this conversation right here on this question's page. There are a number of people/teams working on projects that address various aspects of food injustice. Here are a few you might want to connect with:
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/project-food-thought
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/kans-kidss-zavala-elementary-food-pantry
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/millions-people-do-not-have-access-enough-food-eat
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/showing-compassion-towards-1-4-children-are-food-insecure
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/children-do-not-get-enough-food-eat-home
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/food-injustice-low-quality-food-being-served-youth-all-time
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/food-shortage-and-production-my-community
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/jee-foods
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/community-food-pantry

And some questions that go down similar trains of thought:
https://www.peacefirst.org/questions/can-there-be-incentive-program-encourage-people-buy-healthier-foods
https://www.peacefirst.org/questions/should-i-create-weekend-program-my-border-city-insure-children-go-home-food

I also wanted to let you know about an opportunity coming up soon. While you can create a project at any time to be eligible for a $250 mini-grant, if you submit your compassionate insight by February 28th, you can participate in the Peace First Challenge with other young people from around the country, and can apply to attend a spring Peace First Accelerator Conference!

I hope all this helps! Let me know if you have any questions, and if there are other ways we can support you. I’m excited to see where this project goes!

Best,
Adrian