Free Spirit Students Discover Food Deserts and Community Gardens
October 22, 2009
Shamecia Davis reports during a Farm to Fork news segment at GCYC.
FSM students routinely tackle provocative and important issues, including education, relationships, and violence. This past year, FSM students discovered issues related to food access, urban health, and environmental sustainability. As these issues become hot topics around the country, FSM youth are recognizing ways food and the environment directly affect their health and their future.
Over the summer, 35 teens from North Lawndale College Prep, Manley, Collins Academy, and ACE Tech high schools came together in Umoja Student Development Corporation’s Community Builders internship program to explore food deserts, justice, and nutritional disparities between affluent and low-income communities. FSM helped the students create a documentary film, “Hungry for Change,” which follows the teens’ journey through recognition, research, and recommendations. Through this experience, FSM connected with Steve Montiel, Director of USC Annenberg’s Institute for Justice and Journalism, and Mari Gallagher, a leading national researcher and food desert expert, who invited the entire team of Umoja Interns to Columbia College to present their work-in-progress at the national Justice and Journalism Conference. Subsequently, “Hungry for Change” was selected to be shown at the Community Food Film Festival in Des Moines, Iowa as part of the Food Security Conference.
In FSM’s journalism program at the Gary Comer Youth Center (GCYC), students explored the impact of gardening on the environment -- focusing on GCYC’s beautiful rooftop garden. Students produced a short documentary film about the garden that explored how such gardens can help address global warming. Their film won the Ryerson Woods’ Locally Grown Video contest for high school students, which called for videos that educate and inspire the public about food, farming, and the environment. During FSM’s summer program at GCYC, students also produced a series of short news segments, called Farm to Fork, that highlighted how students at GCYC are growing their own food, learning how to cook food from their garden, and selling their fresh produce to members of the community.
Finally, FSM worked with a crew of advanced interns from After School Matters to produce two short documentary films about how stimulus funds are helping create summer jobs and community gardens in needy communities. The students travelled throughout the city to interview youth, program coordinators, and public officials.
Watch "Hungry For Change."