To kick off today’s Youth Crew session, our team played what has become a Real Food Farm classic game – we call it “Who Stole My …..?” The idea is you can play with any “…..” – a water bottle, as set of keys, a stuffed animal. Our Education Coordinator, Molly, learned it from a leadership workshop she attended in college where the facilitator carried a rubber chicken around just to play this game! We played today with a special commodity at the farm – pink salt! Don’t ask us how, but a salt shaker with Himalayan pink salt ended up in our spices bin and Youth Crew swears it makes all dishes taste 100 times better than regular salt. If you’d like to see the game in action, this video sums it up. After Molly demonstrated how to play the game once, Youth Crew members got to take turns being the leader while the rest of us approached and tried to sneakily steal the salt and get it back to “home base” without being detected. It’s good practice projecting our voices – this will come in handy when leading groups on the farm and workshops in the future. The group also got to see how easily things fall apart when you don’t work together – there’s no way to win this game on your own!
Inside, we launched the rest of the session by using our spectrum of “Agree” to “Disagree” to practice sharing our opinions and incorporating others’ ideas. The facilitators would ask a question and give the group a few moments to arrange themselves on the “agree” to “disagree” spectrum. Each member talked with whomever was closest to them and then shared their opinions back to the group. After hearing from everyone, we asked the same question again and let people choose a new spot on the spectrum if their opinion had changed. Our spectrum questions were focused around food choices and hunger, such as “An individual’s food choice is entirely up to them” and “Someone experiencing hunger should accept whatever food is offered to them.” As we found out, we certainly have a diverse group of opinions among our team!
This activity leads into our discussion about how we create change in the food system. Each Youth Crew member took a few pieces of scrap paper and wrote down as many solutions as they could think of to addressing hunger.
Some of the solutions included having more food giveaways, giving homeless people change when you see them on the street, having more community gardens so people can grow their own food, and raising the minimum wage so more working people can afford “real food.” Before moving on, we listened to a story called The Picnickers (aka, Babies in the River). In the story, a group of people picnicking on the bank of the river notice babies floating down the river. Many jump in to save the babies and exert all their effort to pulling the babies from the water. Others head away from the river and go upstream to find out who is throwing the babies in the river to begin with! This introduced us to our “social change” and “charity” spectrum. In some cases, our actions to address a problem fall more on the charity or immediate need side – such as helping to pull babies from the river – while in other cases we could be focusing more on the “upstream” or social change side of things and be working to change the conditions that are causing the problem. We took time to decide which side of the spectrum our proposed solutions fell on and discussed if one was better than another.
Last, we talked where Real Food Farm fell on the “social change” to “charity” spectrum. In what ways are our actions addressing an immediate need? When we give away produce, we are addressing hunger and food access. Are we working at all to solve some of the root causes of the issues in our food system? If we consider unemployment and lack of exposure to alternatives a root cause, then Real Food Farm hiring youth and adults from our community is one way we are helping to build a more just and sustainable future. In what ways do you think Real Food Farm could be doing better?
Today was also t-shirt day! We all got the much-coveted gray Youth Crew shirt. We wear these whenever we’re out and about town to show our community who we are!