A Peacemaking Project by Matthew T. and Matthew T.
What is the injustice we are solving?
In flattening the curve of physical interaction with quarantine, we have ensued a spike in poor eating habits, loss of community, and artificial isolation. In Japan, as a result of the mass quarantine, the obesity rates have astronomically inflated. This is due to many factors: a lack of exercise, stress, and most importantly a poor diet. Cooped up inside homes laden with non-perishable soups and premade meals, it is easy to lose sight of a healthy diet when making meals at home. Furthermore, it can be difficult to access fresh produce when stores are limited on supplies and citizens are limited in their travel. Our project, QuaranGreen, works to curve all of these aspects of an unhealthy lifestyle with a simple and easy first step: growing a lettuce plant. Our goal is to distribute potted lettuce plants to households throughout our community in order to provide a first step in creating a personal produce source, build friendly community bonding, and reduce stress. Each plant will come with an information sheet about our campaign, how to care for the plant, ways to continue to build a home garden, options for healthy cooking tutorials, methods of natural de-stressing, and our community bonding contest. Our delivered lettuce plants have already germinated and are a week or two away from being harvested. Lettuce is a great plant because if you pick it correctly, it grows and continues to provide leaves as time goes on. Having this plant provides a great small green source for families to put into their meals, but it also provides a great first step into creating a self-reliant home garden and a sense of accomplishment amidst these trying times. Additionally, it acts as a constant reminder for families to eat healthily and mix produce into their meals. Moreover, these plants can improve mental health just as much as a physical diet. Studies have shown that indoor plants boost mood, productivity, concentration, and creativity while reducing stress and fatigue. Whether you are experiencing severe social isolation or just have cabin fever jitters, these plants will be beneficial to create regular social tendencies and a productive routine. Finally, communities have never been so separated. An additional goal of the QuaranGreen project is to reconnect communities through a social media campaign about our cause. Because we live by our motto, “Lettuce be separate but together” :). Families who receive a plant will chronicle the growth of their plants with daily pictures and post to our feed. At the end of a month, the person with the largest grown lettuce plant will receive a prize. Our project, QuaranGreen, provides a structure to promote a healthy diet and reduces stress all under an environment of friendly community competition.
Our Compassionate Solution:
To solve this injustice of Unhealthy eating habits and rise in obesity during social isolation
we will address inaccessibility to fresh produce, an increase in stress, and a lack of community support
by distributing lettuce plants and starting our QuaranGreen social media campaign both of which will provide households the first steps to create a healthy home garden, promote nutritious eating habits, and create productive lifestyles.
Our Project Plan:
- Our goal with the QuaranGreen project is to provide our services to 150 households in our community. Each household will receive a plant, a healthy habits and growing information packet, and instructions on how to participate in our community social media campaign. We hope to mobilize a couple youth leaders in different parts of our community to provide this service. More broadly, we hope to start healthy habits and positive community conversations throughout our campaign.
We will increase my / our compassion by...
Our work with QuaranGreen will show compassion in our community because it demonstrates a giving spirit and a communal response in a time of hoarding and fear. We will be respectful of individual social and financial situations and provide an opportunity for people to have a source of fresh vegetables and something to tend to while quarantined. Our goal with compassion is to make everybody's lives, while stuck inside, a little bit greener. Additionally, we will work to respect the dignity of all people by giving out our resources to households who will benefit the most including the elderly, families and those living in apartments.
How will you show courage?
We will demonstrate courage through our project by standing up to “temporary” unhealthy eating habits as a result of the quarantine. What many consider to be a temporary lifestyle can lead to unhealthy long term habits. QuaranGreen addresses this issue straight on with plants and an information campaign for everyone to continue a well-rounded diet and a healthy natural lifestyle. We will tackle community separation with a fun and healthy social media lettuce growing contest and provide tips and tricks through this media. QuaranGreen will show courage by being the first in our local community to address the lack of community compassion in light of this pandemic and the first in our national community to address the issues of unhealthy habits during the quarantine.
How will you collaborate with others?
Through the QuaranGreen project, we will create community collaboration in a safe and responsible environment. To begin, we will have youth leaders from different areas of our community take on the leadership of assembling and distributing our little green care packages to households in their community. We will make sure to brief all members of our campaign with the ethics and etiquette of social distancing. This includes making sure our teen leaders are not sick, that they distribute the plants indirectly by placing them on front steps or in front of apartment doors, and that they communicate virtually with their community. We will be working in collaboration with a local farm who will be providing us cheaper wholesale prices for our campaign. Additionally, we will be working with our active local community gardens to get potting soil, they will also be providing the prize for our social media growing contest which are a couple fruit and veggie plants. We hope to continue our campaign through plots at their garden and growing more plants for future distribution.
How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)
Successfully and carefully distributing 150 healthy plants to 150 households in our town. Having all who are given plants participating in our daily photo tracking campaign and contest. (150 daily uploads to our social media stream.) Creating an active social media influence for healthy eating and habits during quarantine. Positive responses from those who receive them, other community members, organizations and neighboring communities.
- First, talk to local farms and negotiate wholesale prices of lettuce and ceramic pots. - already done will be able to buy 150 plants and pots. Create an information sheet that covers how to take care of the plant, how to participate in the social media challenge, how to continue to eat healthy, how to naturally destress, and how indoor plants can help mental health. Receive funding and purchase the plants. Select a few teen leaders from different parts of the town to be part of assembly and distribution. They will also be the social media coordinator in their region. Train them on their tasks and how to distribute and promote QuaranGreen’s campaign while safely regarding the social distancing etiquette. Distribute the wholesale plants and pots to the leaders and they will pot each of the plants, attach the information sheet, and distribute the plants to households in their neighborhood. Create the social media pages and begin the growing challenge. Promote our hashtags and continue to foster everyone's daily growth pictures. A month after distribution, choose the winners of the contest and send them their prize: a strawberry and a tomato plant. Continue to promote healthy eating tips, the benefits of indoor plants, and community togetherness.