2011 Northwest Regional Training September 16-18 in Seattle
This summer, the Real Food Challenge held five intensive trainings around the country. At each, about 25 students and veteran real food organizers converged for a powerful weekend of workshops, cooking, skill-shares, storytelling, strategizing and all-around fun. This retreat was geared for students who wanted to take on (or strengthen an existing) real food campaign on their campus. This year’s Northwest Training was held on a farm outside Seattle and conducted by your northwest RFOs Alex and Emma! Check out the blog post written by Genevieve Jones, a Grassroots Leader from Whitman College, about her experience at the training!
Northwest Real Food Youth Convergence 2010!
February 12-14, 2010 at the University of Montana, Missoula
For most of the participants, the Convergence really started early Friday morning; some carpooled from as far away as Seattle or Boulder, or from Portland via school bus (Idaho snowy pass, at right). Travel time was taken advantage of wisely: homework, napping, making new friends, and of course, dance parties.
As participants streamed in to the University Center Friday evening, the waves of energy came over the registration table as people approached and left donning their fanciful nametags. Friday night was kicked off with a comfortable, delicious meal of potpie and roasted vegetables, followed by some fast paced mixers where people bounced around providing goofy facts.
Saturday morning was bright and early; participants awoke from our church slumber party to bumble towards the fresh brewed coffee smells in the UM University Commons. After breakfast the group woke up and broke up to fill the abundant array of workshops, such as “What is it and how are they run, Co-ops 101,” “A Chicken on a Tractor? Exploring the problems, purpose, and practices of the Whitman College Organic Garden and its Chicken Tractor Project,” “Seedy Fundamentals: an intro to GMO’s,” and “Organizing a Real Food Campaign.” During their time between workshop sessions students networked, shared ideas and laughed–there was no shortage of fun or energy. Participants spent the afternoon at a teach-in about building a real food system through policy change, tromping around the UM PEAS Farm left), or exploring the nooks of UM’s sustainable living experiment, the UM FLATS.
After filling our bellies with the evening meal (which including a local cucumber and tomato salad, wow!) we settled in to listen to the stories presented by panelists on the diverse understanding of food sovereignty in the state of Missoula. From this point on the fire was hot, peoples questions where ravenous and the power of the room overflowed into the halls and late into the evening with impromtu concerts (left).
On our closing day, we continued with delicious food (the highlight of breakfast was the scones!), provoking workshops, and a thoughtful closing. And a rowdy closing circle, at right: “Now step towards the center with a big Yee-haw!” “YEEEEEHAAAWWWWW!!!!”
It is hard to stay patient with the slow, rocky process of contributing to positive change in each of our communities, on each of our campuses, but the Northwest Convergence gave us a nourishing energy that sparked many conversations, ideas, and action plans. Stay tuned for more updates from students in the Northwest, here, at our regional blog: realfoodnorthwest.wordpress.com. Thanks for reading.