Metas 2010 – 2011

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During 2010 – 2011 Metas approached food issues from all sides – from growing seeds to changing diets to soda can math, we looked at the effect food has on our lives and our communities.

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In February, we called elected officials together to talk with us about the state of wellness in Richmond, San Pablo, and nearby towns and cities.

Gayle McLaughlin, Mayor of Richmond; Leonard McNeil, councilmember and former mayor of San Pablo; and Cecilia Valdez, the vice-mayor of San Pablo, spoke with students from METAS in the Fireside Room at Contra Costa College.

Leonard McNeil talks about San Pablo’s initiatives for parks, recreation, and youth sports. Note healthy apple snack next to tennis shoe at lower right!

Cecilia Valdez introduces local initiatives to make San Pablo a better place for gardens, parks, and access to healthy lifestyle choices.

Students in the high school class prepared questions for the panel; they led the younger students in the question and answer session after the panelists introduced themselves.

The video team records it all from the back. Videographer Jason Boyce, a co-teacher for the spring semester in the high school class, taught shooting skills to Blanca, Jacqueline, and Jennifer so that they could record the conversation themselves.

Mayor McLaughlin, Councilmember McNeil, and Vice-Mayor Valdez invited us to keep them posted on the progress of our conversation around food. The coming year’s garden projects should yield some results for us to report!

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In December, we celebrated, with a few new additions…

Jesus Ruiz and his dad on guitar (OK, this has happened before, but Jesus is more skilled every year), and the biggest change – Metas high school class serving up their own healthy food at the winter celebration. Usually the parents handle it all, and it’s delicious, nutritious, and filling. This time, the high school class offered a lighter option – soft tacos with lots of vegetables and fresh fillings.

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In November, we boarded Jens-Peter Jungclaussen’s biofueled bus to OPENwater in Alameda to meet with scientists from the Exploratorium, and chefs and artists from OPENwater who installed a restaurant-in-relief in St George Spirits to make a classroom and thinking space to talk about salt and water and the economics of food.

The driver turned over the bus music system to the group as we passed EBMUD’s water treatment plant…

Jenny and Blanca stirred the pot with the chefs from OPENrestaurant, challenging them to do the math: can people like us afford to eat at a restaurant that works like this – one with a greywater treatment pond and garden on site, one where scientists and artists work together to make dinner happen every night?

Washing up in the Mokelumne River water cycle dishwashing station

Meeting the shellfish, the urchins, and other catches of the day brought in by Monterey Fish Company

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It all starts in the garden, where the food grows.

Visiting the garden space in September with the bio club, we found oregano, thyme, cilantro, basil, and many other edibles buried under dry grass and scrubby weeds.

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And as always, tutoring. 2 hours every 2 weeks, tons of students, dozens of committed tutors, uncountable improved grades. Changing lives, one person at a time….

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