Umoja Community Builders Summer Internship

For the summer of Community Builders 2009 we are focusing and researching the topic of food justice. We discussed the topic of food justice, and the problem of food deserts. When we say food justice we mean each community having the same access to food. When we say food desert we are referring to a lack of grocery stores in a specific area. While researching we noticed that North Lawndale is suffering from a food desert because of a lack of grocery stores in the area. Us thirty- five teenagers decided to find a solution to this problem. In the course of the second week we visited an organization called Green Youth Farm, where other teens learn how to grow organic foods. After researching we have created several questions to produce a survey, which we passed out to the community later on that week. Once during every week, we attend Free Spirit Media to gain knowledge of the process of making a documentary. When we are there we learn to edit footage, produce a soundtrack, and generate texts. What both Community Builders and Green Youth Farm are doing is only two parts to the solution. The last part requires the assistance of the residents in the North Lawndale community to take action.

By: Shanobia Davis and Jasmine Coleman

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"Hungry for Change" screening in Iowa

The Community Builders film, "Hungry for Change" will be screened in Iowa at the Community Food Security Coalition's conference.
Check it out here!

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Site of the Summer Research

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Final Reflections on the Summer

This summer was a great experience, it is a summer that I will never forget. I met a lot of great people and there were a lot of details that I learned about food deserts. The first detail was that most strawberries and fruit in stores have steroids. Another detail that I learned was that an empty lot can be turned into a community garden. I also learned that there are other gardens in North Lawndale, but people in the community don't know that these gardens exists.

In addition, there were a lot of people I met this summer. There were a range of different people who I learned from, such as....
  • Food Desert Researcher Mari Gallagher, who taught me about there different ways she collected data around Food Deserts.
  • Community Organizer Ray Thompson taught me to look at life in my community a bit differently. "Don't look at a glass as half-emptied but look at it as half-filled. "
  • North Lawndale Community Garder Green Youth Farm taught me a lot about food. It taught me that there are more options than junk foods. They also let met tastes a lot of different fresh herbs and organic berries.

Another Final Reflection on the Summer

This summer we have decided to do something about the lack of organic foods in the North Lawndale community. So far we have gain some forms of improvement with a little help of collaboration with two other organizations by the name of Green Youth Farm and Mikva. We hope we will have a positive outcome on this year's community participation.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Day with Mikva, by Shanobia Davis

During my internship at Community Builders we met up with another community organization by the name of Mikva. For an icebreaker both Community Builders and Mikva grouped up together to complete an activity. Our activity was to use marshmallows and toothpicks to make the tallest and sturdiest building. Then they split us up into groups. But before we could start the activity we had to answer a few questions about what our organization is trying to accomplish this summer. Mikva was working on trying to change the structure and values of the Chicago Public School system, and we were trying to make people aware of the food desert that is in our community. We exchanged information about our research, we filled out each others surveys, and we explained to each other the importance of what we were trying to accomplish this summer.

Summer Filming, by Marquita Baber

What was happening in this image, we were outside learning how to use the camera. Interviewing each other about the food desserts in our community. Seeing that the issue is a problem and what we can do to help change that to make our community more healthy. the reason we use cameras this summer is to help us get our message across because we thought that would be much easy if people really look at our documentary on video, than on paper they would like it better.

Experience at Columbia by Takeyiah Treadwell

At Columbia College the experience was wonderful and magnificent. I learned so much from all the guest at the speaking event and it was amazing to find out so many things about the Food Desert in Chicago. The speaker told us some amazing things related to the world that will help us with our research that gave us more great facts. About the things we wanted to accomplish this summer. The speech gave a very inspiring message that will encourage me to make sure my voice is heard. Our group leaders going in front of the group of speakers and media gave us great tips on numerous things and topics. They really did a good job on speaking in front of us and we did as interns also answering questions on anything they asked. Overall it was a great experience for everyone.

A Day With Community Builders By Damion Hardy

 I walked into the classroom where the Community Builders internship was taking place. I walked next to the table were the sign in sheet was at and began to sign in. And suddenly I hear a intense conversation being held by the white team. The conversation got so intense that I decided to walk over there and see what the conversation was about. When I walked over there I found out that the conversation was about food deserts in the North Lawndale Community. Jermaine was talking about how black people live up to all the statistics  that people set for them. and i was about to jump into the conversation and i realized that i had to go to my group instead of jermaine's group.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Access to Healthier Foods by Porsha Treadwell (from Image Writing Activity)

When you think about what people in the North Lawndale community want to buy as far as foods go, organic tomatoes and basil plants definitely wouldn't come to mind. This is because there's a small want for that type of food in the community. Snacks like hot cheetoos or zebra cakes is something well known in the community, but this is not a healthy choice. The blame for is the little access to food is the people of the North Lawndale community have. I want to know why it is like that, why can't there be a healthy store on each corner?

Markee Williams' Story (from Image Writing Activity)

I believe that schools and daycares feed their children orange juice or other fruit juices because it's nutrition. But most of the daycares and schools can't get access to organic food. So they give the kids artificial snacks and juices. In this picture the kids were eating bugles instead of fruit. The employees probably didn't think it was healthy for them because the fruit wasn't organic, but if they had access, they could have been eating fruit and been healthier.

This Parfait (from Image Writing Activity)

Look at this Parfait. Would you think it's good for you? Would you know where to find this dessert? Would you feed this dessert to your family? Telling from the look of of it, I think this dessert is full of nutrition even though I never tried it. I could not tell you where to find it, nor could I tell you where the best ones are sold. You see my community does not have this, because of this little thing I would like to call a "food desert". Maybe this is why I never tried it. anonymous

My Food Story by Aaron Johnson (from Image Writing Activity)

As I picture things about my community, I think of all sorts of things. Things like, "how would my neighborhood feel if this certain type of food wasn't in our community?" Or, "what type of food do people buy or want in their community?." So I went around my neighborhood going door to door asking my neighbors what type of food do they buy when they go to the grocery store? What type of food is in your household? It was a lot of similar answers but a lot of different answers as well. But through it all it was unhealthy food which is not good for your body. Food like eggs, bacon, grits, and toast, which is very unhealthy for you. But I tried to change a couple of my neighbors ideas but it didn't work because they stick to eating the food they have been eating.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Marlon's Story (from Image Writing Activity)

Image was found at

This sign is located in the North Lawndale (NL) Community. Clearly there are more fast food restaurants in the community as opposed to a local grocery store. Why? I am glad you asked. Its because nobody wants to speak up about this issue. Its time to speak up and use your voice.

Marlon D. Williams
ACE Tech Charter High School 2010 Grad

Jasmine's Story (from Image Writing Activity)

Image was found at

I am a volunteer at the food pantry. I see many homeless people sitting and waiting inline for our groceries. They come from many different neighborhoods just to get our groceries. The people hear about it from other people in the communities. We get many people here because our marketing strategy is FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE. The people need the food and they will travel far to get it. People are not well off they need our food and we are happy to supply it. In a way we are all connected to food. We need it to survive, it has to be close so people can easily obtain it, and we need money to buy it. The work I do is very beneficial for me and them. I am learning to help people out by providing them with groceries and they are really happy about it.

Shanobia's Story (from Image Writing Activity)

Image was found at

I woke up yesterday and I wanted a sandwich. Since the grocery store was too far away, I walked to the liquor store. When I got to the store, I noticed that the name of the store was Drink Liquor. Then I started thinking that the name of the store was crazy. But the craziest part was that the store owner was selling fruit, and newspaper outside the store. That confused me, the store was selling bread, meat, cheese, beer, wine, fruits, vegetables, and newspapers. That made me go to the corner store that's across the street from the liquor store. So i went in that store and bought the cheese, meat, and bread for my sandwich. Then I went home ate my sandwich with some Blueberry Kool- Aid, and finished watching Tyra.

Give Your Piece a Good Title!

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When you are completely finished, you can click "Publish Post." After your Blog entry is published, all you have to do is click "View Blog" at the top of the page, and you will return to the original page.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blogger Basics

You should also know that with a blog, you can also attach videos, pictures, and other links to your blog entry. This is example of "embedding" a YouTube video.