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Strong Fast Fit Youth: Farm to Table Field Trip

By Edwin Gonzalez, Strong Fast Fit Latino Youth Counselor
July 10, 2015
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I remember being asked a couple years back if I knew from where strawberries really came. My response, impulsively and without any hesitation, was the store – as if the answer was that simple. The real answer is obvious. Someone planted a seed, raised it and took care of it and…well there’s more to the story here, but you see where I’m going with this. The reality is that unfortunately many of our youth have a similar response to this question. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with the answer, but there’s something to be said about not knowing where our food really comes from and the process it undergoes. Much of this comes from our broken food system and the people directly affected by it. Take food deserts for example- a geographic area where affordable and nutritious food is difficult to obtain. Given that most of the youth we connect with live within food deserts and/or have little to no access to education about the food system, it is a vital part of our mission to step in and do what is necessary to address these issues. Strong Fast Fit strives to empower and advocate for our youth, their families and their health by connecting them with educational programs that interrupt the damaging progress of these systemic issues. One such program is our summer camp.

During our very first week of summer camp we took a walk on the Greenway to visit a local urban farm located only a couple blocks away from our Midtown site. We also traveled outside of the city to Wozupi Tribal Gardens– an organic farm owned and operated by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. It was an exciting moment for the youth to see what it is like to grow food in an urban setting, as well as how it is done on a larger scale outside of the cities. They became familiar with a variety of plants (they even got to eat some…YUM!!!), principles and practices of sustainable farming, the importance of organic food, and hand-fed cage-free laying hens.

We also spent time learning about the yuckiness of composting, but also the reward that comes from a beautiful process- death and rebirth. Once the youth got past their grossed out state, they dug their hands right inside the rich black dirt, aka compost, and created seed balls. These were cool half-dollar sized seed balls that are thrown in spaces where there’s a noticeable lack of greenspace in order to beautify the environment.

Opportunities like these are what allow our youth and their families to become much more informed on how the food system works and intersects with their lives. They become active members of our society who critically engage with a broken food system and consequently do what is necessary to make it better.