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Final Reflective Essay

When I first signed up for Food For Thought, I did not know what I was getting myself into. I expected it would be just another lecture class, however it was not. I thought we would just be learning about food and all aspects associated with it. I never thought we would be working with different non-profit organizations and integrating what we learned in class with the real life experiences we were gaining. After taking the class, it has made me open my eyes about the society we live in and our food production system. I have gained knowledge in regards to food advocacy, food injustice, social media and blogging, as well as experience with working with a non-profit organization.

There were a lot of aspects of our food system that I did not know about and learned in class. After reading the various articles assigned, I got a better sense of how our food system works and the accessibility of food. Learning about the ingredients in commonly known products, the chemicals used to enhance products, and how those products are created have definitely made me change my eating habits. The food system is all about making money and not keeping us healthy. Products are processed in the cheapest ways, altered in order to entice customers whether it is good for one or not, and sold to have maximum shelf life

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This blog post goes into more detail about how food is altered for the consumer.

The accessibility of obtaining healthy and fresh foods is also an issue within our food system. There is a lack of resources in some areas than others. In class, we created infographs about food deserts in the Richmond community. This task allowed us to get creative while making something useful for the community. I never realized the extent of how disgusting our food industry is and the public needs to be better educated about it.

Below is one of the infographs I created about food deserts. This particular infograph is centered around the accessibility of food within Richmond. I used one of ReEstablish Richmond’s neighborhood communities to figure out the distance to the closet grocery store.

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Throughout the semester, we focused heavily on the use of social media. We all created personal food blogs to share and reflect what we learned thought the course of the semester. I enjoyed writing my thoughts and posting what I thought about certain topics on my blog. It allowed me to be creative with very little restrictions. Also, we presented on different social media platforms, which helped everyone, gain knowledge on different forms of social media. We looked at how different platforms can be used to promote food advocacy. My partner and I completed our Points of Participation Project on Facebook. We highlighted the pros and cons of using the website and how non-profit organizations use it to get their message out. As of class, we had many discussions about social media and the importance of using it. Social media can be used to get anything promoted or announced and can be conveyed across a large audience. We all incorporated the use of social media platforms when working with our clients.

The link to my blog is my Point of Participation assignment on Facebook:

We had the choice to work with three different non-profit organizations promoting food advocacy, Ram Pantry, Peter Paul Developmental Center, and ReEstablish Richmond. I had the opportunity to work with four other individuals for an organization called ReEstablish Richmond. ReEstablish Richmond works to help refugees fleeing from other countries get established in the Richmond community. The organization provides various programs and services for the refugees such as nutrition classes, driving classes and bus navigation, housing, job preparation, and education classes.

In the beginning of the semester, we met with Kimberly, the director of ReEstablish Richmond, and she informed us our starting tasks. We would be helping with workshops for the refugees as well as interviewing the refugees and developing narratives based off of the discussions. Weeks passed and we were informed that the workshops would no longer be happening. We were all extremely frustrated and decided to brainstorm new ideas to present to the organization. However, Kimberly informed us of a fundraiser that would be coming up in the next couple weeks. We created different forms of advertisements and marketing materials in order to get the word out. We developed a Facebook event page, flyer, and handouts for the tables at the restaurant.

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I was very apprehensive leading up to the Bakers Crust fundraiser. It was difficult for me to think we would have to promote and ask other people to support an organization that I had very little contact with. We never met any of the refugees nor did we even go to the office to see the operation in depth. Even if I did not have the opportunity to meet any of the refugees, I would of liked to see the office to get a better idea of the organization than from what we were just told. Even though I feel like my group did not contribute to the organization to our fullest capacity, I still think we finished strong and pushed through for the Bakers Crust fundraiser. The event was successful and the organization received over $300. Our hard work and preparation towards the event outshined all of the obstacles we faced throughout the semester.

The links below to my food blog go into more detail about my experiences with ReEstablish Richmond.

Client Meeting:



Bakers Crust Fundraiser:

We faced many challenges throughout the process of working with the organization. Time, monetary funds, lack of planning, and the lack of trust from our client were all issues we encountered as a group. Running into “road blocks” is only normal and likely to occur, especially when working with a client. Not everything happens as planned, however it is important to adjust in order to reach the ending result. My group did a great job of adapting to all of the changes we faced and it was an overall positive experience.


Make #11 – Food Untruths

Untruth #1 – Raw carrots are more nutritious than cooked carrots.

Cooking carrots increase the nutritional value of the vegetable. When cooking, the cellular walls that encase the betacarotene are broken down. The cell walls become less rigid and makes it easier to digest.

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Untruth #2 – Avoid eggs because of their cholesterol content.

Recent research has shown that eggs do not contribute to high cholesterol levels. Eggs are a source of many vitamins and nutrients.

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Untruth #3 – Drinking red wine protects your heart.

It is not the red wine that protects your heart, it is the alcohol in the red wine. Alcohol increases cholesterol levels (the “good” cholesterol) and helps protect against artery damage. According to health officials, most say that one or two drinks per day won’t hurt and can be beneficial.

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Untruth #4 – Radiation in microwaves creates dangerous compounds in you food.

Cooking food in the microwave is no different in comparison to a different cooking method. Microwaves used to cook food are weak compared to other forms of radiation. However, depending on the container the food is being heated in, chemicals from the container may seep into the food. The microwave itself will not create dangerous compounds.

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Untruth #5 – If the label says “natural,” it is better for you.

Just because a label says “natural,” it does not mean that is better for you. Products labeled with those terms can be just as unhealthy and processed compared to those that are not labeled. Be cautious of what you choose at the market and do not get sucked into those sneaky terms that manufacturers use.

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Make #10 – Photo Montage

ReEstablish Richmond Photo Montage

This photo montage was created by our group to present to Kimberly. She wanted us to put together a photo montage of pictures that were captured by the ReEstablish Richmond’s employees. Unfortunately, we were not able to capture our own moments throughout the semester. We never got the chance to work with refugees or even visit the ReEstablish Richmond office. I would of liked to create my own montage with photos that I took over the course of working with the organization. However, these photos give a better insight and help provide a visual of what the organization does for the community.



Make #8 – Insight on Non Profit


I chose to interview Kelly Sheaff, who has been volunteering and working with BARK over the past semester. BARK is a non-profit organization that stands for Bandit’s Adoption and Rescue K-9s. The organization rescues dogs from local animal shelters in order to help them find loving homes. When Kelly volunteers at BARK she plays with the dogs, walks them around the property, and will clean their cages. As an avid animal lover, she explained the satisfaction she receives after working with the dogs. She loves being able to help make a difference within the organization as well as for the dogs.

Make #5 – Food Activities for Kids

Banana Spiders – Simple, easy, affordable

What is Needed:

  • Pretzel sticks – for the legs
  • Banana (thick slices) or marshmallows – for the body
  • Raisins – for the eyes and nose
  • Coating (coco powder, cinnamon) – for the coating of the body

How To:

  1. Roll the banana into the coating. If using marshmallow instead, skip this step
  2. Arrange the pretzel legs into the body of the spider
  3. Add raisins for eyes and nose
  4. Eat!

Estimated Time: 10-15 minutes


Lesson about spiders — different parts of a spider, number of legs, their purpose

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Turkey Snack – Easy and festive for the holiday season

What is needed:

  • Clear plastic gloves
  • Popcorn, colored goldfish, pretzels, dry cereals, chex mix, nuts
  • Red and orange felt (optional)
  • Googly eyes (optional)
  • Markers (optional)
  • Glue (optional)
  • Scissors (optional)

How To:

  1. Fill each glove with any snacks of your preference
  2. Decorate the glove – Using the markers, draw the beak and eyes or cut and paste the felt on for the beak and glue on the googly eyes
  3. Enjoy!

Estimated Time: 5-10 minutes


Lesson about the history of Thanksgiving, helps with counting and sorting

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Make #7 – Advertisements

Social Media and Marketing Materials

Creating the advertisements for the fundraiser satisfied the requirements for Make#7. Leading up to the ReEstablish Richmond fundraiser at Bakers Crust, we worked to produce proper marketing materials to get the word out. As a group, we all worked together to create the materials. This was very important to do beforehand in order for the event to be successful. We created a Facebook page, handouts for each table, and flyers that we posted all around campus and Carytown. We chose to create a Facebook page for the event mainly because it is a very popular social media platform. We all invited our own families and friends to the event. I do think that making the advertisements and getting the word out, definitely helped the turnout at the event. It was a successful night and I hope our efforts helped the organization!

Facebook Page

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Facebook Cover Page


ReEstablish Richmond – Table Handouts


ReEstablish Richmond – Flyer