Spending a Summer the Weaver's Way
Fast food is prevalent in American society, but Angelique Bradford '13 and Leora Winston '14 are doing their best this summer to promote organic produce, environmental sustainability and healthy eating habits in the communities of Philadelphia.
The two are interning at Weavers Way Community Programs (WWCP) under the auspices of the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (CPGC). Founded in 2007 as a non-profit extension of the Weavers Way Co-op, WWCP works to build the Northwest Philadelphia community by fostering cooperative activities that support local food production, economic literacy, a sustainable environment, and healthy lifestyles.During the internship Bradford and Winston have learned about effective marketing strategies for organic food businesses and gained hands-on experience with urban farm education and production. Winston also works to promote sustainability during the school year with the Earthquakers, an environmental club on Haverford's campus.
Bradford and Winston spent time in June going to elementary schools and working with after-school programs to take inventory of, advertise, and prepare lunchtime sales of healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables. Bradford says that there is a dearth of healthy food options at many schools, and that she enjoyed working at the schools“because we were able to work directly with students and form relationships with them.”
At the conclusion of the school year, Bradford and Winston continued to work full time on farm education and outreach with two of the WWCP farms. The first is located at the Awbury Arboretum in northwest Philadelphia and the other is located at the nearby Stenton Family Manor, a homeless shelter for families and children. Bradford and Winston harvest much of the WWCP crops and sell them at farmers markets in Chestnut Hill and at the Stenton Family Manor. Crops are also donated to the shelter kitchen. Many students and summer campers visit the farms to learn more about organic food, sustainable agriculture, and healthy eating habits.
Bradford, a biology major, says that she has noticed discrepancies in students' knowledge based on where they are from.“When, for example, we are working with a group of suburban 3rd graders many of them know what organic food is and why it is important for the environment and our health,” explains Bradford.“In contrast, a group of students of the same age from the neighborhoods surrounding the farm may or may not have even heard of what organic is, and if so probably can't explain it very well.” Bradford also says that she feels lucky to be able to work with students and hopes that the information she and Winston have provided them with will allow them to make informed, healthy decisions.
--Jacob Lowy '14