Category Archives: Arts

Picturing A Better Future

May 30, 2013, by

For my final Food For Thought Action Project of the year, my assignment was to create a mural, artfully depicting the gradual change from the ways of past agriculture, to how I picture it to look in the future, if things took a turn for the better. The purpose of this project was to gather enough knowledge to be able to create a realistic mural with four “panels”, complete with a vision for the future. I learned a lot about the history of food on our planet during this unit, and especially while creating this picture. If I had the power to design my own food system just for America, I would have each couple blocks of people make their own biointensive garden. Biointensive farming is an eco friendly type of farming that creates healthier plants using less of everything normally used in farming, including space. Everyone would chip in and grow what they needed, and there would be no need to import, what with the balanced diet biointensive farming provides.

Time by LF

Time by LF

In this narrative, I will talk more about the steps I took to create my mural, and explain the reasoning why I split it into four panels, while also trying to make it flow. The most difficult part for me to draw, were the center two panels which show where we are now, and where we were a few years ago. Planning my murel was a long process full of thought. First, I decided to choose three words to focus on for each of the four panels I was going to draw.  I used these words to help guide my research and to give me ideas for what to draw. After I had it all planned out, I felt comfortable enough to begin drawing. In my picture, I drew a large tree on the left to show nature and mother earth, and I depict the hunter/gatherer age and the main word I focused on was Life. For my second pannal, Death, I wanted to show how meat was being killed a new way, instead of by hunters. I drew a meat processing factory in the distance to show that it is not being taken care of properly, and I used roads to go from year to year. In the third panel, Decay, I wanted to show how monoculture was becoming a big problem because it is killing plants. I drew fields of the same crop, spreading as far as the eye can see. The Walmart sign shows how big businesses are taking over. Finally for my future panel where I focused on Birth, I showed three different ways that I like to imagine one can “birth” a new way of feeding the world. I focused on change, health, biointensive farming, rooftop gardens, solar panels, and having your own meat and animals. I hope that in the future, I can inspire others, who will also inspire even more people, to create their own food system. Hopefully, my mural shows each of these steps and gives a view into a better future in an artistic way.

Farmer’s Markets Chicago

May 30, 2013, by

For our final action project in the Policy course, Students were given an option to work solo or in a group to understand better use of commons. I was happy to have the opportunity to work in a group. My group, SM, JH and HP, decided to make a short documentary, interviewing the people working farmers market. We went to farmers market to explore the actions taken to combat food desert in the urban area of Chicago. I learned that farmers market are trying to bring healthy food to all by working together with Link Up Chicago. Link Up Chicago is a program that tries to get farmers market dealers to allow LINK to be used. Below is my video and poem.

Farmers Markets: A Hoop Dreams Production from JH on Vimeo.

LN made a poem capturing the sense of our experience, you can read it below.

People walking on the ground
A ground full of seeds and weeds
A ground desperate for trees.

Trees where wind echoes like a curious hungry dog, that only becomes more hungry when a man bites an apple.

An unforgettable smell like garlic melting through my nose.
Making it difficult for me to smell anything else in the atmosphere, this is the farmers market.

Popcorn vs Theatre

May 24, 2013, by

For this action project, I did a taste test comparing organic popcorn to movie theatre popcorn, in the hopes that I would discover more about the difference between eating organic and it’s effect on me. The purpose of this experiment was to distinguish the different flavors between homemade popcorn and popcorn that is not organic and from a movie theatre. I learned that movie theatre popcorn has a very strong, unpleasant, tangy taste compared to homemade popcorn, and that it has to do with the way it is prepared and produced. I am proud of my taste test and of what I learned from it. Feel free to read my taste test essay below.

Popcorn By LF

Popcorn By LF



I sat excitedly in the dark quiet of the Webster movie theatre, feeling the anticipation pulsing through my veins. I was excited about the movie, sure. Who isn’t excited about seeing great movies play on a huge screen? However, I had another thing on my mind: A secret taste test. Next to me on my arm rest sat a full bag of buttery, yellow, inciting popcorn. The bag was still warm, because it had been freshly popped at the over priced theatre concession stand. But inside the inner pocket of my unnecessary jacket, sat my real secret: Homemade popcorn. The inside of my jacket kept this popcorn warm as well, and it salty, buttery aroma made me question my luck that I’d been able to sneak it into the theatre with me.

I thought back to making my popcorn at home on the hot stove top in my kitchen. I heated up some oil in a big pot and poured the un-popped corn on top of the heated oil, placing a lid on top for good measure. I had only to wait two minutes before the magic began to happen. The organic, Whole Foods band kernels began to pop. The scent was overpowering more than the whole kitchen, and I even heard a shout from upstairs, “Lil! Aren’t you going to a movie right now? Why are you making popcorn?” I emptied the pot of freshly popped popcorn into a bowl and put some butter on top, but not before checking the label. It read “Grade AA certified Organic butter”. After doing some research, I found that if a label says it has been certified organic, it means it really is, and it is reliable.

As the lights of the theatre dimmed slowly until they were off, my excitement rose. I pulled the brown, oily paper bag out of my jacket and plunged my hand in, opening my mouth for my first bite. The popcorn was awesome! It was the perfect combination of crunchy and oily and the salt wasn’t at all overpowering, just the right amount of salty flavor. I took a break to finish chewing and chanced a quick glance up at the big screen to witness Leonardo DiCaprio raising his glass to a lovely blond girl. I wanted to give my mouth a break, so as not to mix tastes. Once I was mentally prepared, I dug my hand into the movie theatre popcorn, which I noticed while purchasing it was dark yellow in color, much darker than my homemade treat. As my hand neared my face, I noticed its strong, buttery, salty smell. When I tasted it, it crunched a lot, and then the flavor hit it. It was incredibly flavorful, and not in the best way, either. It was so salty that it was almost astringent, and even though the popcorn crunched, in each bite I took, there was a tremendous amount of oil being released into my mouth. I do not think this this popcorn was organic in the slightest. When I had eaten a fair amount of the movie theatre popcorn, I began to notice a strange aftertaste that was stinging the sides of my mouth and making my throat hurt. These were definitely not organic food side effects.

It didn’t take much for me to come to the conclusion that my homemade popcorn was better in, not only taste, but health as well. This fact made me extremely happy and full of pride.

162: Scouting Pitchers

May 16, 2013, by

For our third action project for the 162 course, we were given 5 baseball players for each student to investigate. The investigation was for us to understand what we need to look at when scouting players. The purpose of this action project was to look and use statistics to understand the overall value of baseball players. I was given 5 pitchers to investigate and decide which pitcher is more valuable. I learned a lot strategies in scouting a player by tracking their weekly and monthly statistics. What our teacher expected of us at the end was to decide which player is valuable looking at the stats. I decided that Yu Darvish from Texas Rangers was the best pick and valuable player. See below to find out why I came to this decision.


1) Justin Masterson
Is paid $5 million a year as of 2013 and play for the Cleveland Indians. He will be a free agent in 2015.

2) Justin Verlander (Tigers)
His salary is $20 million a year and is a free agent in 2019 but his salary will increase yearly because they say he is a stud.

3) Jeff Samardzija
as of 2013 jeff is paid around $2 million from the cubs and his salary in from the cubs is shockingly going down. he will be a free agent in 2015.

4) Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers
His salary has increase from 2012 where he was paid 7 and as for 2013 he is paid about $11 million. He will be a free agent in 2015.

5) Yu Darvish
He plays for Texas Rangers and his salaries has gone up high it doubled up from $5 million (2012) to $9 million. He will be a free agent in 2018.


I believe that Yu Darvish is the best and valuable player in 2013 for the pitchers I was given. I chose him because of his great statistics and low salary. Beyond that he is only 26 years old and performs unbelievably well. I believe that Clayton Kershaw might be the best of all my pitchers but I don’t think that I can afford to pay him $ 11 million because I can have an extraordinary player like Yu Darvish with a lot of love from fans. He is also gaining popularity which would be good for my team.

Rankings by:


1. Jeff Samardzija
2. Justin Masterson
3. Yu Darvish
4. Clayton Kershaw
5. Justin Verlander

1. Yu Darvish (age:26)
2. Justin Verlander (age:30)
3. Clayton Kershaw (age: 25)
4. Jeff Samardzija (age: 28)
5. Justin Masterson (age:28 )

1. Yu Darvish (age:26)
2. Clayton Kershaw (age: 25)
3. Justin Verlander (age:30)
4. Jeff Samardzija (age: 28)
5. Justin Masterson (age:28)

GCE Garden

May 12, 2013, by

For our third action project in Policy, we had a chance to find a non-profit organization that needed volunteers. Every students had to submit a proposal that explains why they are interested in serving an organization. We had to do at least three hours of service and I am going to say, I loved. I served GCE H.S because I had some difficulties reaching out to an organizations but I was happy that I decided to work or volunteer on a garden which is a nice way to address human rights. It took the person in charge about 18 months to have her garden idea approved. Bellow is my essay along with images of me and other students.

Before I dug the ground for the soon to be GCE Garden at GCE High School, I was looking for a place to volunteer. I tried to volunteer for a non-profit organizations but time failed me on doing so. I looked for three other organizations– again time did not favor me. I couldn’t find something that I really wanted to do which that brought me closer to something I wanted and love to do. I figured out that GCE was planning to do a garden and I thought this was a chance for me to actually do something that I feel most connected to. Gardening has always been one of my favorite things to do and I was a farm boy for years too. Since the space for the garden was dry, we had to dig a bit with shelves. There were seven or eight GCE students who participated in this awesome digging. I call it creative thinking or digging for truth because the area I dug had some objects that were thrown down or buried for a long time.

While preparing the space some people passed by and they had questions: why are these teens doing this? Most of them had a thought that we were forced to do it as a punishment. I can’t blame them for thinking that way because most teens these days at least in the United States don’t care or are not interested in doing stuff like this. On the other hand people were very happy seeing us doing something that is incredibly good for the environment. I am a young man who cares about the environment very deeply. I always read about health problems that could be easily ignored if we chose to protect our environment.

Three days before me doing this, I attended the Tedx Midwest talk. An Urban Gardening activist, Ron Finley, talked about how many people have no choice but to eat what they see or are given. This has become an issue to the well-being of Americans because diabetes is increasing big time. Us teens showing that we care about the environment is one of the powerful movements that can affect change. At the Lincoln Park Community Center, I learned that it doesn’t take the whole village to make a change but it needs the seed to become something. That something also needs the roots to help it grow strong. At GCE many are inspired to do things and they inspire others to do good things too. That’s what I love the most about doing something like this because we inspire others to make a difference and while working we forgot our differences.

The experiences reminded me that to eat, dress and survive is a hard work. When I was little I worked hard to eat and to survive but when I got here, I was civilized. I forgot that living is hard but joyful. I was reminded that survival for me or for you is something to take seriously.

Gas in Chicago: Monopoly

April 29, 2013, by

In the second unit for the Policy course, we were told to pick a monopoly(industry) to explore and create an infograph based on the data you discover. I had a lot interest in focusing monopoly industries in Chicago and so I decided to talk about Shell. I was very passionate about this topic because it affected my life also. In Chicago it’s getting hard to go to one place to another because of this unbelievable high price on gas/oil. Currently the Chicago public transit also is getting two times the price than it was. Below is my research with infograph for the final product.

Screenshot from 2013-04-28 20:30:57

Almond Milk

April 25, 2013, by

Almond Milk by LF

Almond Milk by LF

For my unit two action project, my assignment was to follow the path my almond milk took to reach the glass on my dinner table. The purpose of this project as action was to help us look at our food in a very different way, from a different perspective, and notice all the usually unnoticed details and work that goes in to producing the simplest of foods. I am proud of all the research I did on almonds, and their road to the Whole Foods by my house. I learned that there are many steps in between the almond trees being planted, and me drinking their milk. I was surprised to learn that besides the environmental impact that the transportation of almonds has on the air we breathe, there are also small side effects of drinking too much almond milk, even though it is thought to be more healthful than milk. Feel free to learn more by viewing my Prezi presentation below.


Prezi by LF

10: Jack Arthur Johnson

April 14, 2013, by

In unit 1(1.42) for the 162 course, we are studying one of the biggest moments in baseball history and see how that changed our societies. We specifically focused on one of the most inspirational baseball prayer who went through a lot to succeed, Jack Robinson. For action project, we paired up in to two students each group and find someone who have changed our society in any sport today. My group-mate and I decided to focus on the first and greatest African-american heavyweight champion who changed our society through boxing. I learned that we can do a lot if we don’t back down. below is my Prezi presentation.

Water Fountains in Zone

April 14, 2013, by

For my Policy course,  we are studying how societies may make constructive change at 4 levels of governance –  local, regional, national, and global.  For our first unit we made  proposals to reshape a public, urban space for the better. For this action project,  I created proposal that helps teens, athletes and homeless. The best way for me to help them I had to think of something that no one has ever thought of as a problem to our community. For me creating water fountains that are easily accessible for the community was a mind-blowing idea. It was hard for to choose to who I should send this proposal.  I decided to send it to many people as I can think of so it could be spoken of. I created a 3-d sketch of a fountain to include into the proposal to show my sincerity. Below is my proposal.

3-d Design

Dear Mayor Rahm Emanuel,

I am LN from GCE Chicago High School and I am a junior this year, 2013. I am writing a proposal to you with care and sincerity. My proposal idea came from life experiences of mine. I am a big fan of soccer and I like to drink water a lot. When I run by over Lake Shore drive I get desperate for water and the water is always near by the parks. I noticed that water fountains are only available at the parks.

In Uptown there is a large population of homeless people who don’t have access to water. It is difficult for them to travel to the park fountains. I am not against what people may think of wasting water but now I believe that water is a wasted when it’s not being used. In Uptown, Chicago, this is a big problem even though people may not care. I care for the sake of health of athletes and homeless. Especially in summer, at least 100 people get sick because of lack of water, according to Deborah L. Shelton from Chicago tribune.

I sincerely propose that we should have more water fountains in Uptown Chicago and if possible everywhere in the city. This problem has never being brought up before that’s why I thought I should be the seed before the root. I want to help many teens, homeless and athletes who may have health problems. I believe that this problem should be resolved rapidly. If my proposal is taken seriously, it can make our community and homes more healthy. I trust that you’d think about it.


LN (Junior)

Global Citizenship Experience High School Chicago, IL

When Life Gives You Lemons

April 12, 2013, by


Lemon Tree by LF

My first Action Project in my Food For Thought course was to create a family food tree; a family tree, depicting the importance and travel of food throughout my families history. The purpose of this assignment was to develop a better understanding the impact food has, not only on the people eating it, but the people making it. This project helped me find and learn about my families culture through the foods that we eat together and home-make. I am happy that I was able to contact both of my grandmothers while working to complete my project. I spoke to each of them about their favorite foods and what they love to make, even to this day. I learned that both of my grandmothers like well-balanced meals, complete with vegetables and chocolate. I was also slightly surprised to discover that the food I eat takes a very long journey to get to my plate and into my tummy. To find out more, feel free to read my essay below.


When Life Gives You Lemons, Write About Them

By: LF


The sun beat harshly onto my skin as the warm air blew me carelessly this way and that.  My tree’s leaves rustled in the wind, making a calming sound all around me. However, there was something in this playful breeze that told me this was it. Today was the day; and I knew there was nothing that anyone, not even I, could do about it. I had heard stories of this day, yes, but they were only myths and made up adventures. No one knew for sure what happens after you are picked, plucked cleanly off of your tree, and tossed unceremoniously into a basket full others like you, from many different trees.

“Are you okay?” I hear my mom whisper, so none of my brother and sister lemons can hear her. I know she’s worried, but I know I’m going to get picked because everyone can see how yellow my skin is, my clear complexion, and my bright leaves. Everyone knows that the humans choose the best lemons.

“I’m fine, mama.” I whisper back, exasperatedly.

“The picker is coming! I can see him in the distance. Do you remember everything I told you about your heritage?”

“Yes, mama, I remember. I’ll be okay, don’t worry. I love you!”

“I love you to, Lemon number 567,123. Don’t forget your past. We expect the best from you.” And with that, the picker reached towards me, grasping me in his sweaty palm, and pulled me straight from my home, and the connection was broken.

I felt myself land with a smack amongst some of my own kind, who I had never met before. But lemons were strong, and they had come a long way, and I was not about to disgrace them. Lying helplessly in my basket, I thought back to the first time I heard the story of my history.

It had been a long day, and I was  swinging calmly on my branch, when my grandmother had first spoken to me about my heritage. She had said, ”My child, I think it is the right time for you to learn about your ancestors.” So she began her story.

“It is presumed that our kind first grew in India and China, where we were sought after for our antiseptic properties. My great grandfather lemon tree was planted Europe in the 1st century. However, we were not widely cultivated. We finally were taken to Persia and then even to Iraq and Egypt around the year 700.

“And my child, we were even written about! The first time was in the 10th century. In the 18th century, my mother tree was planted in Florida, when people began using us for our tart flavor. You, young child, are lucky to be planted right here in Barbara’s back yard. It is said all around the neighborhood that her lemon bars are incredible.”

In this moment, my dream, all I want, is to live up to everyone’s expectations. As I come out of my revelry, I come to the realization that I have been cut into little squares and sprinkled with sweet powdery white sugar! It is just how I have always pictured my victory! Everyone is talking about me as I am placed on the plate of a young girl. The last words I hear before completing my journey, tell me I have made it.

“They remind me of eating little lemon meringue pies, but in a bar shape. They’re just delicious.” Barbara, Lily’s grandmother, says.