Youth Food Justice at Play Day in the Plaza

29 June 2012

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By Erin Middleton, Community Outreach Specialist

Youth, parents and general participants alike had a blast at Oakland’s Parks and Recreation Department’s Play Day in the Plaza. There was everything imaginable for children’s recreation – a rock climbing wall, circus youth on stilts, line dancing, live music and more.  Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project came out strong with multiple interactive stations where children got a chance to learn about food justice and plant their very own mini garden. As part of our call to action to Take Back Our Food System, CFJC and Food First provided volunteers and materials in an effort to support Acta Non Verba with this event.

Children visiting Acta Non Verba’s station automatically became “Garden Engineers” and received their emblematic yellow hardtop hats. They then had a chance to earn three different sticker badges.  First they were quizzed on the seasonality of their favorite fruit or vegetable. Then the enthusiastic youth drew pictures of what food justice means to them (see picture below).  Lastly and arguably most exciting, participants got to plant their very own salad!

The activities were sprinkled with informative conversations. Many children shared which fruits and vegetables their families are already growing. Others enjoyed talking more about how their favorite veggies are grown and which season is best for planting melons. I certainly learned a thing or two – for one that citrus generally grows in every season EXCEPT summer.

Overall the day was refreshing and exciting, especially for those of us not blessed to work regularly with children. I believe that teaching children to grow their own food is a revolutionary act and plays a critical role in how we choose to Take Back Our Food System. Kudos to Acta Non Verba for their commitment to youth engagement and the food movement.

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CFJC promotes the basic human right to healthy food while advancing social, agricultural, environmental and economic justice. Through advocacy, organizing and education, we collaborate with community-based efforts to create a sustainable food supply. We envision a food system in which all activities, from farm to table, are equitable, healthful, regenerative and community-driven.

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