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At the intersection of food, soil, climate, farming and water.

Michael Fields takes GULFS into the Classroom!

MFAI’s Assistant Policy Director, Devon Hamilton, spent three recent weeks piloting lessons from MFAI’s GULFS (Growing Urban Leaders in Food Systems) curriculum with the PEOPLE Program, a pre-collegiate and college scholarship organization based at UW-Madison. Each summer, middle and high school students from Madison, Milwaukee, and various other cities involved in the program leave home to live on campus and complete three weeks of pre-collegiate training, taking ACT prep classes and various other courses intended to expose them to the many opportunities and career paths UW Madison has to offer. From mid-June to early July, Devon co-taught the PEOPLE Program’s P2 high school urban agriculture and food systems class.

The program was a well-evaluated success. During the three weeks, the students learned what a food system is and how they can take action now and in the future to create change in food systems and other concerns they see in their communities. The class went on multiple field trips – to the Farley Center for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, the F.H. King Eagle Heights Community Garden, for example – and discussed topics ranging from food insecurity to personal agency and advocacy. Students used lessons from MFAI’s GULFS curriculum to role-play different stakeholders in the food system (farmers, school lunch workers, land owners, etc.) and brainstorm potential solutions to the scenarios they were given. As with student feedback last year, evaluations were strongly positive. “The students were terrific,” Devon said. “Their engagement feeds our enthusiasm for continuing to move forward in refining, editing, and piloting more GULFS lessons with our other partner organizations.”