Being part of the Food Desert project has been such an amazing learning experience, as it allowed me to be more aware of this issue and also helped me improve as an artist.
My first set of images were taken at Pike Valley Elementary School. Here the children were my main focus after watching a documentary in class. The reason why I focused on the children was because they were mostly affected by this due to changes in their behavior, the issue with obesity, and knowing that they will be the future of the world. It is surprising how the food that was served for lunch was much better than what I saw in the documentary which It showed kids eating more junk food.
Next, I focused on the depot market, showing me the produce that is being sold in the area and also the garden in the back. The store was very small compared to a Walmart or a Dillons, but needless to say, the produce was way better than some super stores.
Manhattan Community Garden (Riley) was my next focus, because I wanted to see more produce being grown since it is a main solution to stop food desserts. I have never seen a garden so huge, it took me nearly two days to take pictures of the whole thing! Unlike what I am use to where people would just grow one or two things, the people in Manhattan were growing a plethora of vegetables. I took these pictures in the beginning of November and it was nice still seeing a lot of veggies still around there.
Last, I went home back in Missouri and found this place called “Ruby’s Kitchen.” Here, you can eat and work off your meal if you do not have the money. It isn’t set in motion yet, but that is their goal since Troost Ave. is known to be a food desert. This place inspired me to want to continue this project, because there are so many areas that we all know of and could not tell that it is part of this problem.
Unfortunately, I did take pictures of the food market during the trip and also an organization found in Missouri, that collects can goods and give it to ones who need it most, but those pictures could not make it, but it did help me learn how to tackle film better.
I like to thank my professor, Shree, for teaching me new methods of taking pictures and also motivating me to be part of this project. I like to thank everyone who was part of this learning experience too. The more people involve, the more the public will be aware of food deserts. If there was something that I can change, it would be to focus more on the people since they are more affected by this and I hope to continue this project in the future.