Day 3

Food

PARTNERS

Guayaki
The Story of Stuff Project
The Story of Stuff Project

OVERVIEW

“Food for us comes from our relatives, whether they have wings or fins or roots. That is how we consider food. Food has a culture. It has a history. It has a story. It has relationships.” — Winona LaDuke, economist, environmentalist, Program Director of Honor the Earth

Food is related to absolutely everything. We must eat to survive, and an estimated 40% of global land is used for agriculture. In the United States alone, 10 million people are employed in the food industry (grocery store cashiers, fast food workers, chefs, caterers, etc.) and 1 million in the agriculture industry. How we produce, transport, use, consume and dispose of food has a staggering impact on people and the planet, both positive and negative. 

Do you know where your food comes from? Can you understand the ingredients on food labels? Have you heard of the term organic? Do you know what it means? Who has access to food that is good for bodies and for the environment, and who doesn’t?

Our food choices directly affect our health and communities globally, yet most people don’t know where food actually comes from or at what cost. In much of the world today, it is easy to go to a market and buy what’s available without second thought or order any product online for rapid delivery. The way people relate to food and knowledge they have of its origins have changed drastically in the past century, leaving many to stray from a healthy real food diet.

Food used to be consumed close to where it was grown. With the rise of sophisticated rapid global transportation, preservatives, refrigeration and packaged food, food can now travel great distances with ease, but that requires huge amounts of energy and radically increases carbon footprints. ​Seasonal eating​ — the act of eating food when local production is at its peak — has all but disappeared, as consumers demand year-round access to goods from around the globe despite costs, contaminants, emissions or consequences.

Industrial agriculture is a highly concentrated and mechanized process that relies on fertilizers and toxic chemicals, damaging precious resources including soil, water, air and the climate on the whole at an unprecedented scale, as defined by Foodprint. The way we grow and consume food has changed drastically and rapidly, harming the environment by causing loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, and water pollution, among other detrimental impacts. The collateral damage of industrial agriculture includes a multitude of public health problems such as antibiotic resistance and exposure to dangerously high levels of toxins at alarming proximity for farm workers, families, and even unborn children.

Sustainable agriculture​ is a method of farming that puts the environment, local communities, and the future generations that will inhabit the planet at the forefront of everything. One of its pillars is ​organic food​. Certified organic food is grown without chemical additives, pesticides or genetic modification. It also prioritizes cycling of resources and biodiversity conservation. The organic food market has exploded in recent years with many organic options now widely available. By leading through values of always organic, integrity, transparency, and deep roots in sustainability, organic pioneers like Nature’s Path grow food in a way that ensures communities are nourished and life is sustained indefinitely for all. This article speaks to the benefits of consuming organic food, which leads to a healthy lifestyle, as our partner Friends of the Earth explains here.

Different diets and lifestyles are better for the planet than others. For example, eating vegetarian or vegan reduces carbon footprints tremendously by cutting animal product-based food, those with high greenhouse gas emissions. Eating less meat and being more conscious about the quantity of animal products you consume can greatly reduce your footprint. Organic farming practices are far better for the environment than chemical-heavy conventional farming, and organic food is shown to significantly improve people’s health. For example, a study in the journal Environmental Health shows connections between people who eat more organic food and increased fertility, fetal health and reduced inflammation, and lower risk of major illnesses like cancer, heart disease and stroke, due to the benefits of organic farming. Conventional foods, on the other hand, have pesticides, hormone residues, and other contaminants with lasting negative impacts on bodies, soil, and the environment. This research from The Organic Center shows that switching to organic means significantly less exposure to pesticides. 

Organic does not only apply to fruits and veggies; a wide array of grain, meat, dairy, snack and other products are also organic. “When you eat meat, choosing organic is especially important, because meat production can have cascading effects on animal welfare, the environment, and human health. There is a long chain of resources that support the animals used for meat production. Choosing organic at the grocery store has an added value when it comes to supporting sustainable production, because you are not only ensuring that the animals are not raised with synthetic chemicals and have the strictest welfare standards, but also that all the food that animals eat comes from organic sources that support soil health and biodiversity.”

All people should have access to fresh organic food. Despite serious efforts to combat food inequality, it is still everpresent worldwide. The negative effects of chemical-laden conventional foods disproportionately affect minority communities, who too often have no choice but to eat cheap, processed food. On top of that, many communities of color and indigenous communities experience food apartheid, where green grocers and access to nutritious food is limited or nonexistent, but fast-food options and vendors like dollar stores abound. Unhealthy diets perpetuate and exacerbate health problems in low-income communities. So what can we do to combat this inequality?

One way our organization, Turning Green, takes a proactive stand for food justice is through our Conscious Kitchen program. Conscious Kitchen is committed to food equity, access and education — serving fresh, local, organic, chef-prepared, scratch-cooked school meals to students since 2013. We created the first organic public school district in the country, beginning with one historically-marginalized school where 95% of students qualify for free-and-reduced school meals. Conscious Kitchen has met rising need across the local West Contra Costa School District during the pandemic by sourcing, packing and delivering 100% organic food boxes to children and families weekly, the first in the country to do so. By partnering with schools and communities to shift the paradigm around food service, replacing pre-packaged overly processed food with fresh, organic ingredients for real meals, Conscious Kitchen is able to support local organic farmers and benefit health, climate, local economies, and workers. We are proud of how this latest CK/WCCUSD Food Program collaboration addresses compounding current challenges, directly investing over $17 million to distribute over 10.7 million pounds of organic food for 18.7 million meals since November 2020, now working to transition back to school meals to organic.

Guiding terms for Conscious Kitchen are represented by the acronym FLOSN: Fresh, Local, Organic, Seasonal, and Nutritious. 

With numbers, frequency, resolve and power, we, the people, are demanding to know what’s actually in food, how it was produced, where it comes from, and who has access to it. Individual buying habits, institutional purchasing, and consumer pressure add up in massive ways. Think about how YOU can vote with your fork every single day!

CHALLENGE

Green

20 POINTS

THINK

A FLOSN (fresh, local, organic, seasonal, nutritious) food diet is often thought to be more expensive and thus out of reach for students and much of the general population, but that is not necessarily the case. For example, buying seasonally, in bulk, and at farmers markets are great ways to protect human and farm worker health, support local economies, mitigate climate impact, reduce ecological footprints, and save money. 

 

CHALLENGE

Get informed with these resources for ECO-nomical shopping:

  • Read about how to buy organic on a budget here or here  
  • Browse the EWG Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce here
  • Check out this article about eating healthy on a budget
  • Look at this infographic about the benefits of organic vs. non-organic

Take note of practical ways to incorporate more FLOSN foods into your diet on a budget. As an example, consider the fruits and vegetables you commonly buy. Where do they fall on the EWG guide? How would you decide which to buy organic? 

Using these questions as a foundation, make your own list of tips for shopping organic –  a simple action plan for students to successfully buy organic. Share it on Instagram, tagging @TurningGreenOrg and @NaturesPath in the image and caption, as well as #PGC2021.

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF Document with your responses and a screenshot of your social media post. You must include your name (or team name), username, and school.

Submission Guidelines

  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day3_green_2021.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • Link to images, if possible
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again
  • Send any questions to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg, Facebook @Turning Green, Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and use #PGC2021
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greener

40 POINTS

THINK

Even when people do know about the benefits of eating FLOSN (fresh, local, organic, seasonal, nutritious) food, incorporating them into their diet is not always possible — because of access, distance from farmers markets or organic grocers, price or other barriers. When a community does not have access to a grocery store or supermarket in their neighborhood, this is called a food desert

 

CHALLENGE

Read this article to learn more about the racial and economic inequalities that deter access to healthy food for marginalized communities, and this one about fighting food insecurity.  Feel free to find other articles on the the topic of food insecurity and the solutions being implemented to help solve the problem.

  • Write a reflection on what you read and the issues you learned about. What are the obstacles for people trying to achieve a wholesome diet? Do you see evidence of food deserts and food insecurity in your own local or campus community? Share your thoughts. 
  • Now choose one of the actions in the articles and get to work! Tell us which one you chose and a comprehensive plan of how you will implement it in your own life. What are some concrete steps you can take to address these issues where you live or go to school? 

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF Document with your responses and a screenshot of your social media post. You must include your name (or team name), username, and school.

Submission Guidelines

  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day3_greener_2021.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • Link to images, if possible
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again
  • Send any questions to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg, Facebook @Turning Green, Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and use #PGC2021
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greenest

60 POINTS

Greenest is due on October 11 @ 6am PT.
Up to 60 points will be awarded for outstanding work.

 

THINK

Building on your food knowledge, it’s time to test your culinary skills! Using the FLOSN criteria as a guide, prepare a meal for you and your housemates or family. Our Conscious Kitchen Cookbook has great inspiration!

 

CHALLENGE

Choose an entree recipe and use as many FLOSN ingredients as possible, while keeping your meal under $4 per person to create a delicious organic and budget-friendly meal! 

  • Create a document with a full report on your meal, including where you source ingredients, what percentage is FLOSN, and all you learn throughout the process. Was it easy to stay on budget? What did you learn about FLOSN food costs? How far did you have to travel to purchase this food? Where did it come from?  
  • Share recipes and meal preparation with photos, as well as how you manage leftovers and waste. 
  • Post photos and/or videos of your recipe, preparation and dish — and caption it with a brief description, as well as the recipe on Instagram. Tag @TurningGreenOrg, any organic companies you sourced ingredients from, and use #PGC2021. We cannot wait to see!

TIPS

Think about visiting a farmer’s market in your community. Typically toward the end of the market, prices are further discounted. Also imperfect items may be available at a lower costs. 

Buy in bulk at the grocery store.

Harvest what you can from a backyard garden, whether your own or that of a friend or neighbor!

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF Document with your responses (recipe, meal preparation, and reflection) and a screenshot of your social media post. You must include your name (or team name), username, and school.

Submission Guidelines

  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day3_greenest_2021.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • Link to images, if possible
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again
  • Send any questions to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg, Facebook @Turning Green, Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and use #PGC2021
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Extra Credit

POINTS

Extra Credit is due on October 11 @ 6am PT.
Up to 100 points will be awarded for outstanding work.

 

THINK

A great way to learn about and showcase the healthy attributes of produce is a Conscious Kitchen project we call “Produce Friends.”  

 

CHALLENGE

Meet “Fanny & Fred,” the first two Produce Friends our team created, kid-size versions of whom proudly adorn the walls of our Conscious Kitchen dining halls! 

Your challenge is to create your own Produce Friend. 

– Gather materials. Use scraps from a meal, instead of going to compost. Consider produce that may be beyond its shelf life. Look around your fridge or kitchen, or ask local farmers markets or grocery stores for leftover organic leaves, sprigs, anything that would otherwise be tossed.

– Do your best to find organic and seasonal items. 

– Think about what information (facts about health, organic, seasonality, local, etc.) you want to convey and how to best incorporate to educate viewers?  

– Be as creative as possible!  

– Take a photo of your final creation and post your Produce Friends on Instagram, tagging @TurningGreenOrg, @NaturesPath and @OrganicCenter, as well as #PGC2021.

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF document with your visual and narrative incorporated and a screenshot of your social media post. You must include your name (or team name), username, and school.

Submission Guidelines

  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day3_extracredit_2021.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • Link to images, if possible
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again
  • Send any questions to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg, Facebook @Turning Green, Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and use #PGC2021
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

TODAY’S PRIZES

Up to 10 Greener and 10 Greenest outstanding submissions will be selected as winners.

Each GREENER winner will receive:

    • An assortment of organic snacks from our partner, Nature’s Path, an independent family-owned company whose mission is to leave the earth better than we found it.
    • A set of enamel dinner plate, salad plate, serving bowl, cup from Crow Canyon Home. Great for daily use or for picnics and camping.
    • A utensil from U-Konserve. As a Certified B Corporation and member of 1% for the Planet, U-Konserve is using business for good.

EACH GREENEST WINNER WILL RECEIVE:

    • A $75 gift card to purchase an assortment of organic snacks from our partner, Nature’s Path, an independent family-owned company whose mission is to leave the earth better than we found it.
    • A copy of the cookbook, Plenty, which launched Yotam Ottolenghi from a fabulous chef, London restaurant owner, and British newspaper columnist to an international food celebrity. In the Plenty cookbook, Yotam puts a spotlight on vegetarian restaurant-caliber recipes that every home cook can make.
    • A stainless steel 2-tier tiffin from To-Go Ware, a B Corp that is Climate Neutral and donates 1% for the Planet. This tiffin is great for taking your meals to go or leftovers home, plus the self latching top even doubles a plate.