Guest Post: New York FFA Food Insecurity Lesson / Challenge
In the last 2 weeks, state officers participated in the Rally to Fight Hunger and then watched the news to see people’s homes destroyed and their families left in need in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Many of your students may be having the same conversations with each other as the state officer team has been having among themselves.
In response, the officers developed an initiative to engage local chapters with their schools in a dialog about food and food insecurity and a response to hunger in New York. They want students to focus in part on problems that threaten food security and how careers in agriculture can solve systemic and chronic problems – but they also know part of the challenge is that a general misunderstanding of the issue of hunger results in people not taking advantage of systems that are in place to serve people in times of need.
The challenge officers are making is simple and significant. They are asking all chapters to educate themselves about the reality of food insecurity and the role food banks play in feeding New York. Then, chapters are to educate their peers and the faculty at your school about the reality of hunger issues. Finally, once that education has taken place, they want schools to collect donations for local food banks in order to respond to the anticipated increased need for food in food banks throughout NY – particularly in the weeks and months following Hurricane Sandy. Any donations made between now and the deadline made in the name of the Harvest for All project will go to help credit NY Farmers in their competition to see which state Farm Bureau network contributes the most food to their food banks throughout the year – there is a lot of good that can come out of this project.
To launch the project, the team worked on a video laying out the problem and their challenge. I’ve included it as two different links – youtube and school tube. I’m also going to try to put it up on a file share site in case your school has blocked both of those sites.
In the next few days we’ll be trying to put together some resources for your students to use to help them get started in understanding food insecurity. This is a phenomenal stepping stool to engage students in the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute next year, or perhaps to spark some ideas for agriscience projects, ag issues presentations or prepared speeches. Additionally, creating a school wide dialog and understanding of hunger may help to attract some students into your agriculture classes when they recognize the challenge this generation of students must meet.
Good luck – and thank you for taking time to share this with your students. The video is 6 minutes and 20 seconds but I’d bet you could anticipate 10 to 15 minutes worth of discussion and planning to come out of it (if not more) if you propose this as a project your students take on.
Let me know how I can help – the videos are below.
NY FFA Executive Secretary
The New York FFA Foundation
The NYSFFALTF, Inc., chartered in 1946 by the New York State Board of Regents, is a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) charitable organization that provides businesses, associations, other foundations, and individuals the opportunity to contribute to the growth and success of our New York youth. Our mission is to build and maintain a financial base that will allow the New York FFA to generate well-educated and career focused productive citizens. Email our Director at firstname.lastname@example.org .