Sunday, June 8, 2014

Let the kids’ games begin!




Earlier this month, Food Empowerment Project (F.E.P.) was able to participate in one of our favorite events of the year: the Green Kids Conference, which was started and is organized by kids! The event is hosted by Microsoft in Mountain View and is dedicated to raising awareness among children about caring for the environment.

At this event, F.E.P. not only informed attendees about animals raised and killed for food (veganism), the use of the worst form of child labor (including slavery) in the chocolate industry, lack of access to healthy foods in communities of color and low-income communities, and the plight of farm workers, but we also focus on playing games.

The first year we participated at Green Kids, we launched our Guess the Produce game where kids have to identify various fruits and veggies. We have since created a more formalized game with answer cards.

Because the children who attend this event are from all over the world, we made a point to make sure that the produce is international. We want children to appreciate the delicious food from their culture. (When I told one child that eggplant came from India, he said with pride, “That is where I am from!”)

Our newest game is called “Water Wasters” and features a panda brushing his teeth, and the kids have to circle the various ways that he is wasting water. Kids quickly circle the bathroom faucet running, the lawn sprinkler on while it is raining, and the leaky kitchen faucet. But two typically stump them: water bottles on the kitchen counter and a bucket of chicken on the table.

Most kids eventually do get the water bottles (many parents proudly explained that they do not buy water bottles), but most do not recognize that eating chickens wastes a lot of water. What is always exciting are the kids who do circle it and proudly explain that they do not eat chickens! We tell everyone that we discourage people from eating animals for their sake and the environment.
It is always fun to watch kids bring others over to play our games.

And the adults’ responses are always interesting. One woman said that her boyfriend and his son were trying to get her to go vegetarian and said that the fact that it takes 25 gallons of water to produce one pound of chicken “meat” would encourage her to do so.

Of course, our prizes were very popular! Every child who played one game received either a plain or colored pencil, and those who participated in both games also won a card for a free meal at Veggie Grill. (We’re very grateful to this wonderful vegan company for generously donating the cards.)

A group of us were able to convince the Green Kids Conference organizers that the food should be vegan there (and now all of it is). The event still has some issues, but hopefully we can continue to work with them to understand the importance of respecting all life.

Thanks to our volunteers Mark, Lori, Teri, and Kat for adding to the fun!

And a huge thank-you to our volunteer designer Dave Vander Maas for drawing our Water Wasters game. 


2 comments:

  1. The Water Wasters game idea is brilliant. Any plans for making this available on the web for use by teachers or for other educational events?

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  2. Hi,

    We are so glad you like it!

    I am so sorry for my delay! We just got it up on the web site. (thanks for the nudge!).

    Here is the link to our printed materials:
    http://www.foodispower.org/printed-materials/

    Just scroll down and you will see Water Wasters.

    Thanks so much!
    lauren

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