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Home > Teen Blog > December 2018 > Sustaining Our Communities and Our Bodies
Sustaining Our Communities and Our Bodies
Posted: 12/3/2018 10:00:00 AM

Intrepid Teen Blog

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by Dejonaye — Nav Ambassador

On November 17, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum hosted an intimate event called Sustainable Planet: Urban Farming and Healthy Eating. Participants had the opportunity to learn about sustainability and how to make it a part of our everyday lives. Organized by the Manager of Teen Leadership Programs, Shay Saleem, this forum was the first of a series of events hosted by the Intrepid Museum’s GOALS for Girls program, an educational opportunity for teen girls across New York City to be exposed to the STEM fields.

“not only do the markets provide fresh produce where people could use them, but they also help local family farmers...”
The event began with the keynote speaker, Yemi Amu. She discussed growing up in Lagos, Nigeria and how it influenced her to start Oko Farms, an aquaponics farm in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Aquaponics, she said, is the act of growing food on water that is fertilized by decomposed fish waste. After the plants take up the nutrients, the water is filtered and recirculated to the fish.

Ms. Amu said that although Lagos is the most populous city in all of Africa, there were always fresh fruits and vegetables available. It was common for people to have their own gardens. When she arrived in NYC, she was surprised at how there were no affordable places to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and that no one grew their own produce. Amu added that she started eating a lot of junk food. But after growing tired of eating junk food and missing home, she tried to find a healthier option.

The next guest speaker was Amy Salman, the creator of The Wellness Map, a diet and lifestyle program. The Wellness Map’s mission is to nourish our bodies, not just with food, but with the choices we make for our lives. She began by discussing the effect sugar has on our minds. Ms. Salman said sugar is 8x more addictive than cocaine and that our mood is largely controlled by the amount of sugar in our blood. Her presentation ended by demonstrating how smoothies are a great way to absorb nutrients from plants that are tougher to digest naturally. She even made us her favorite breakfast smoothie recipes, which included fiber-filled flax seeds.

Insert Alt TextNext we joined Sarah, an Intrepid Museum Educator, with a background in biology, who shared her knowledge on sustainable agriculture and how it empowers people. She gave the example of how during World War II, people came together and grew “victory gardens” in their communities that helped feed themselves and troops abroad. She then taught the forum participants how easy it is for us to grow plants in our own homes. In that activity, we planted our own seed, getting to choose between basil and oregano.

Finally, the last guest speaker was David Saphire from Grow NYC. He talked about the green markets the local government has enabled to be stationed around the city. He said not only do the markets provide fresh produce where people could use them, but they also help local family farmers sell their products and make a living. Mr. Saphire also stressed the importance of community gardens brought up by Ms. Amu and Sarah. He added how gardens offer a form of citizen engagement. He said people can get involved in their local communities by growing healthier food options, pushing local governments to pass sustainable policies, and being conscious of how our choices affect our communities and our own bodies.

The forum was fun and educational. I invite you to attend our next event link: