In early November, eighth graders split into groups, piled into vans, and set off across the Bay Area to visit local organizations that are tackling problems related to food security and production. They dug out weeds and harvested leafy greens at a community garden, packed bags of pasta at a food bank, explored the concept of food as medicine at a local health care center, and even simulated experiments at a startup for lab-grown fish.
These trips were born from a conversation the eighth-grade teaching team started last year. In response to student feedback, the teachers were looking for ways to more deeply connect community service with student curriculum; students were hungry for meaning and action. The answer: community service learning (CSL) trips informed by the food systems curriculum students have been learning all semester long.