May 30, 2013, by LF
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.
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.
May 24, 2013, by LF
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.
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.
April 25, 2013, 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
April 12, 2013, by LF
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
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.
March 8, 2013, by LF
For my Unit 4 action project, our responsibility as students was to make our own dream catcher! The purpose of this piece was to dive deep into our dream world and our unconscious, so we could analyze a specific dream and talk about it’s meaning. Throughout this
project, I am most proud of my ability to share my personal dreams with people. I am also happy with my finished product: I drawing of a dream catcher. Through this process, I learned about different philosopher’s opinions on was our class studied. After some research, I was able to look into my own beliefs and decode them and connect with a few, and disagree with some, while taking in information from each side. This was a good lesson because it taught me that there isn’t one correct answer when it comes to philosophy, but each different philosopher and scientist thinks there is.
My Action Project for my English and Science course in Unit 4, “Dreams,” was the most complex by far. There were many steps to creating my final product, a dreamcatcher. The first of the steps was to brainstorm my own personal dreams and choose one to focus on throughout the entire unit. Then, I discussed my chosen dream with a dream partner in my family. The whole process of sharing my dream was rather relaxing. I chose to share with my mom, because she is someone with whom I had a pre-established level of trust with. I knew she wouldn’t judge me for what I dreamed and that she would have some pleasant insight and advice. If I chose someone else, I would have felt self conscious about the silliness of my dream. We began our interaction sitting comfortably as I told her my dream.
I was babysitting Blue Ivy, the daughter of Beyonce, when I got wrapped up in a TV show. I heard the alarm of the door go off and I went outside in a panic, only to see Blue Ivy crawling into a dark forest in the backyard of the huge house. I started crying and called Beyonce. She appeared in a red oscar dress and told me I had to leave without being paid.
When I questioned my mother about what she would think if my dream was hers, she decided to put her answer into one simple sentence, “I would understand it to mean that the electronic distractions of life cause me to miss out on important things, even to the point of danger.”
Once I received that insight, it was time for me to begin creating my dreamcatcher, while also focusing on the ideas behind it. I decided to draw my dream catcher on paper, because I love to draw. I placed an angry spider on the corner of my drawing, symbolizing nightmares and negative thoughts. This is the unconscious that my dreamcatcher banishes, and prevents from reaching my sleeping being. I made the inside of my dreamcatcher scraggly like a spider’s web. I believe that the web is a metaphor for the energy that connects all of life, and the evidence from my life supporting that statement is conclusive. Many times, I have ran into people spontaneously, or I have called a friend when she was just picking up the phone to dial me.
I also believe that our conscious has a ripple effect on everything around us. I am willing to listen to ancient stories that support that point of view because I believe the ancient people were connected to the energy of life in a way that most people aren’t today. Interestingly enough, this point connects us again to the point my mother made about my dream, like a spider coming back to it’s web. If I was more clever, I would have thought of a more appropriate metaphor. I think the inside of my dreamcatcher symbolizes the unconscious. I agree with Freud, who considered the unconscious slightly negative, where unpleasant experiences are buried and hidden. However, the open parts of my dreamcatcher are the spaces where the good can pass through, allowing me positivity.
March 4, 2013, by LF
For my integrated English and History course called “Who Am I”, I was to create a podcast discussing a strong belief that I have. I chose to speak about my belief that words can hurt, because I have personal experience with this issue. Feel free to listen to and download my podcast below. Thanks for listening. Enjoy!
I believe that words can hurt. I am here to tell you why I believe this. This is a subject I have a very strong opinion about and it is very important to me, because I have experienced it first hand. Or first “word”. I believe that the words that are hurtful are the negative ones. They can hurt you physically, or mentally, depending of your state of mind. I think that remembering negative remarks from the past, no matter how long ago they were said, is something that everyone has experienced, and in my truth, I know that this situation doesn’t ever feel good.
This is a personal experience I’d like to share, in order to help me fully explain where I’m coming from. In grade school, I was terrible at reading. The words on pages of books and on the chalk board never seemed to quite make sense to me. I didn’t know I was dyslexic. Dyslexia is a reading disability, where the brain sometimes doesn’t recognize certain symbols, and skips over others. This is mostly seen in mathematics or when reading. When I was young and read out loud in class, I was called slow and stupid because I didn’t stutter over only the difficult words like my peers, I stuttered over the most basic ones. I’d make excuses not to read, but everyone knew the game I was playing; therefore, the teasing continued, and I began to believe the things they told me. It made me feel hurt. Even though their words didn’t hurt me in a physical way, it was painful to know that some people thought of me this way.
I couldn’t keep pretending not to care, so I finally told my mom what was going on. She decided to take me to an eye doctor to see if anything was seriously wrong. When I learned of my reading disability, I felt slightly relieved, knowing that my troubles with reading weren’t really my fault. However I was still scared to read out loud in front of anyone because I would continue to find myself thinking back to their previous taunts and hurtful words, even though I wasn’t being teased anymore.
Everything did eventually change though. I got a pair glasses, which are made to help with my dyslexia, and I feel more confident with reading now because I make fewer mistakes and I know when I do make a mistake, it isn’t because I’m stupid or slow. But even though these hurtful words were said a long time ago, they still come back to me when I stutter over the simplest of words, because those memories are still in my head. As I said, when negative things are spoken to anyone, those words can have a negative effect on one’s self-worth. They are remembered until we choose to let them go. I urge everyone to think twice before speaking, because there is no way to predict the effect of our word choices. I believe that words can hurt.
February 22, 2013, by LF
For my classes Unit 3 Action Project in our Who Am I? course, my job was to create a powerpoint and prepare a presentation about my own ‘Guiding Question’ A guiding question, in my case, is a deep, open-ended question, which has name different perspectives and opinions concerning it. The purpose of this activity was do dive deeper into our third unit, which is all about doubt and where and how one might experience it in their daily life. The guiding question I chose was “What is the difference between faith and religion?” I’m proud of my question, partly because it took so long for me to find the right worlds I wanted to use to fraise it, and also because I was able to get multiple perspectives on it. Throughout this process, I learned that people perceive doubt in different ways, and the definition varies depending of the person. I also learned that it is okay to disagree with people, but it is helpful to listen to said people, before making a decision or conclusion. Thanks and please enjoy!
February 8, 2013, by LF
For our Who Am I? course, our assignment for Unit 2 was to recall a memory from our past and create a 800 word paper, describing the memory in full detail. The memory had to have metaphors and descriptive words, in order to capture the attention of the reader. During the process of recollecting my memory, I was proud of the fact that I could re-tell my story with such detail, and meet the required word limit. While writing my memory, I consulted my friend who appears in my memory to ask her about what came to mind for her of that same day. I learned that my individual memory differs from our collective one, however, together we still remember the important bits. Below my written up memory is a short slideshow, with an attached video clip to give you the feel of my special memory. Enjoy!
You ask for a strong memory that will live inside me forever? Well I have one to share. It has to do with something that happened while I was listening to music, a passion that I share with my grandmother, Gerda. However, our taste in music differs slightly. During a recent telephone conversation we had, she stated, “Oh! I was absolutely head over heels in love with Frank Sinatra. He was a total dream!” I, on the other hand, enjoy going to concerts, and experiencing the insanity that comes along. That is why this memory is so dear to me. Because that is exactly what it is about.
The sky was slowly darkening, like a blanket was being tossed gently over the sun, even though it was only three in the afternoon. Something felt wrong, different. The first drop of rain hit me square on the forehead, immediately filling my stomach with butterflies and a sense of excitement. The tremendous music was blaring in my ears and the beat was making my heart pound. The song was coming to an end, but I could tell that something seemed off. It was not until the song had ended and the rain was coming down faster, that I knew just what was wrong. A man had gotten up on the big stage and was speaking loudly into one of the many microphones provided. Suddenly, it was like dominos, a chain reaction. Like everyone unconsciously knew that with this poor man’s words, it was time to get mad. Angry shouts and screams broke out all around me and my best friend Lucy, who was looking just as shocked as I felt. It was complete pandemonium. The man on stage who made the announcement looked like a puppy that was about to be pelted with jagged rocks. But the message was clear.
Lollapalooza was called off. We were being evacuated. We were all being evacuated. The boos and hisses and angry shouts spread like wildfire. The whole of Grant Park was being evacuated. Lucy and I looked at each other, horror-struck, as comprehension quickly dawned on our faces. The weather was due to get worse and everyone must find refuge. However, on August 4th, 2012, there were more than 160,000 outraged concertgoers all packed onto 320 acres of land.
With the first deafening crack of thunder, Lucy and I looked at each other and simultaneously broke into a run. Screaming, we pushed passed drunken, laughing, shouting people and squeezed our way through hundreds upon hundreds of people all scrambling in the same direction: out…out to a blocked off, shoulder-to-shoulder- crowded, Michigan Avenue. Everything out on the street was insane. Lucy and I took hands and gripped tightly. We had to stay together.
The rain was torrential now, and we were soaked to the skin. We had stowed our phones inside plastic bags that we found on the street, but we had to find shelter because the announcer who called off Lollapalooza was right: this rain was dangerous. The street was still packed, even fifteen minutes away from Grant Park, and we couldn’t just keep pushing through people and aimlessly walking around downtown because it was getting extremely dark, even though the temperature had not dropped.
I could see Lucy shouting something, but I couldn’t hear over the deafening sound of the rain.
“What?!” I questioned.
“We should just go in there!”
She shouted even louder, and she gestured to the Apple Store across the street. I felt relief sweep over my entire body at her suggestion. I nodded enthusiastically and we took hands again, squeezing around people until we reached the Apple Store. I pushed the heavy, resistant doors open until we were finally in and found cover. As we caught our breath, we began looking around. From beside me, I heard Lucy giggle. And when she laughs, it’s hard for anyone in the vicinity not to laugh along. And so naturally, I did. We laughed about the fact that we were soaking wet. We laughed because we were cold. We laughed because we were standing in the middle of the Apple Store, and everyone was openly staring at us. We laughed at the fact that we were stranded downtown with nowhere to go. We laughed until we discovered that Lollapalooza was back on in twenty minutes. We laughed until we cried when, a half hour later, we were swallowed by the tremendous crowd gathered in the muddy mosh pit of the only band I cared about seeing that day. And even though the rain made it so we could catch only their last song, I was still laughing, because it was my favorite. I will never forget Lollapalooza, 2012, sitting on Lucy’s shoulders, singing along to SomeNights at the top of my lungs.
December 7, 2012, by LF
In our term on Civic Engagement, our class worked on making a mini-mentary about the word gratitude. We did this so that we could learn about gratitude from different people’s perspectives, using different types for art forms. I am happy about the group I was put in and that we shared a vision, all of us wanting to finish on time. I learned that, even though people define the word gratitude differently, it means similar things to everyone. I also discovered that sometimes, it’s fun to work in a group.
November 6, 2012, by LF
In the following poem, we will be addressing the sixth Millennium Development Goal, which focuses on combating diseases and fighting HIV/AIDS. We chose to focus on the 1st indicator “HIV prevalence among population ages 15-24”, because both of us connected with it the most, and felt we had knowledge on the subject. We retrieved our information from an article called HIV Prevalence Among Pregnant Women Aged 15-24 (Wikigender, by Multiple Sources). We also got information from another article, Trends in HIV prevalence and sexual behavior among young people aged 15–24 years in countries most affected by HIV (sti.bmj.com ,by BMJ publishing).
~By LF and MML~
I can’t believe we are still behind
Knowing that we are sitting at home watching TV
Knowing that half of the new HIV cases are among people under 24 years of age
Knowing that some people try their best
Having to think about goals we cannot keep
Knowing that women have a higher chance of HIV contraction because of their
Unequal social status
Too little to be living in fear
Such small voices, if only we could hear
Next time I peer at a mirror
And don’t like what I see
I’ll remember those children, who’d die to look like me.
Who already are
But a cure isn’t so far
I can feel it
To the young souls, so lost, take their hand
Be their guardian angel, protector, their friend
Make them as happy as ever, before the end
HIV prevalence among population ages 15-24
Waiting to hear the good news
Waiting to see the future
Waiting to loose this terrible disease
Trying to fight
Trying to see the light that is on earth with their families
Lies that have been told like
Being able to lower HIV prevalence by 25% in 2010
We’ll find a way to make the disease stay away
It’s around the next bend
And come what may
In bed they’ll lay
Waiting for the doctor to say
That they don’t have to pay
To see a better day