Just Act for Food Justice

Go on a food systems adventure to address issues of fairness and equal access.

About the Activity

In the final activity of this series, kids will apply what they learned about how food is produced and consumed to address social justice related to those systems and processes. Take action toward a more sustainable and just food system by becoming more responsible consumers and involved citizens. They will gain a sense of belonging in the community by making connections with local food and agriculture systems.

Grades: 7-10
Topic: Food Systems, Civic Engagement
Estimated Time: 2-4 hours

Brought to you by New York State 4-H and Cornell Cooperative Extension

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Supplies
These simple supplies are all you’ll need for this activity.

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Activity Steps
In order to complete this activity, first review the following terms:

  • Food access: Access by individuals to adequate resources for getting appropriate foods for a nutritious diet given the legal, political, economic, and social arrangements of the community in which they live (Food and Agriculture Organization).
  • Food security: That all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life (United Nations Committee on World Food Security).
  • Food justice: The right of communities to produce, distribute, access, and eat healthy and culturally appropriate food, regardless of race, class, gender, ethnicity, citizenship, ability, or religion (Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy).
  • Local ecosystems: A geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscapes, work together to form a bubble of life (National Geographic).
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  1. Choose ONE food systems adventure from Activity 7 as your final project. Find and contact your local County Extension Office for assistance.Did you know? According to Feeding America, millions of children and families living in America face hunger and food insecurity every day. Many households that experience food insecurity do not qualify for federal nutrition programs (because their incomes are above the limits). Therefore, they visit their local food banks and other food programs for extra support.
  2. Keep in mind that many systems can influence and be influenced by food systems. Likewise, all options in the adventure handout are relevant to food systems. The goals of your food systems adventure project are:

  • To address food access by learning about how individuals obtain adequate resources for getting an appropriate and nutritious diet.
  • To address food justice by focusing on the right of communities to produce, distribute, access, and eat healthy and culturally appropriate food, regardless of race, class, gender, ethnicity, citizenship, ability, or religion.
  • To address local ecosystems by learning about ways to limit pollution of local ecosystems either through prevention tactics like starting a recycling program, or through mitigation efforts, like leading a trash cleanup.Did you know? African American, Latino, and Native American families are more likely than others to be food insecure due to systemic racial injustice.
  1. Write down the answers to the following questions:

  • Why did I choose this activity?
  • What issue does it help to solve?
  • How did this affect me and my opinions about the issue of food justice?Did you know? The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as “food stamps,” is the largest federal food and nutrition assistance program in the United States. SNAP recipients can use the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card (like a debit card) to buy food for the household at stores that accept EBT. Learn more about what you can and cannot buy with SNAP benefits.
  1. Document your project by taking notes and pictures.Did you know? In addition to SNAP, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program For Women, Infants, And Children (WIC) is designed for low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 to meet their special nutritional needs. People eligible for WIC are also eligible for SNAP.
  2. After you finish the project, choose a presentation style that you prefer to express how the experience has affected you (examples: photography slideshow, writing poetry, drawing, painting, or other means of expression). You may use your responses in Steps 3 and 4 in your presentation. Find and contact your local 4-H County Extension Office for help with public presentation.Did you know? “Food deserts” are areas that have limited access to affordable, nutritious foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Meanwhile, these areas may have more access to unhealthy foods (e.g., fast foods) that are high in sugar, salt, and fat.
  3. Share your presentation on social media with a hashtag: #4HFoodSystems.

Reflection Questions
Bonus questions to consider when advocating for justice in food systems

  1. What would a food desert look like?
  2. How might your final project support a more sustainable food system in your community?
  3. How might your presentation of the experience help make a change in the food system of your community in the future?
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Investigate and Explore
Take what you've learned to the next level to learn more and explore the possibilities.

Think about where you live. Is there someone within walking distance of your home where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables? Do you live in a food desert? If you do, are there ways you can most conveniently get to a store to buy fresh produce – maybe on your way to or from school or practice or a friend’s house? If you do not live in a food desert, are their areas in your community that may be food deserts? Think about how this impacts yourself or others, and the kinds of change needed in communities and who can bring it about – whether that is businesses, governments, charitable organizations – and then ask yourself how you can help.

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Shop 4-H Curriculum and Products

Shop 4-H offers university-backed curriculum, educational kits, products and supplies to expand your knowledge of cooking, food, and nutrition.

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4-H Cooking 101 Curriculum from Shop 4-H

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Grades: 6-12

Learn to avoid spreading germs while cooking, measure and mix ingredients, test baked goods for doneness, brown meat, and set the table for a family meal.

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Fresh Chefs Cooking Essentials Bundle

The Fresh Chefs Cooking Essentials Bundle helps young chefs learn their way around the kitchen. Set includes a spatula, measuring cups, and 2 Flex-it cutting boards.

 

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Fantastic Foods: Six Easy Bites

Grades: 3-12

 

This food activity guide helps kids learn about different food ingredients, characteristics, and safety issues.

 

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