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July 17th, 2012

Organic Gardening is keeping it Fresh!

Just want to take this opportunity to crow about the third edition of FRESH! Youth Voices for Food & Sustainability. It’s a village effort: many hands pulled together to help teacher Meredith Hill and her 7th grade Food & Sustainability class produce this publication, but OG’s involvement all started in 2010 when she and I met at a New York City Grows event. The rain was coming down in sheets, but the turnout had been amazing. As the day drew to a close, Meredith approached me and, describing her English lit class’s summer study of food sustainability, asked me if there was anything OG could do to help. The kids were visiting farms and organic growers, researching and writing reports, taking photos. Since making magazines is what I do, I offered up the idea of creating an OG junior, inviting the class to come to our offices and learn about the editorial process, as well as have visits to the Rodale Institute for a soil science lesson, the Rodale Family farm where it all began for a lesson in the history of organics in the USA and to the Rodale Food Service to learn about food sheds, local food sourcing and other supply and demand issues.

The class arrived on a hot day in late June. Just as their schoolmates before, the 2012 class had a lot on the ball, they had their questions, their opinions, and most importantly, they had a heavy dose of curiosity, the secret ingredient of a good journalist. It was going to be a great day!

Art Director Gavin Robinson and the Fresh! design team

Art Director Gavin Robinson and the Fresh! design team

Over lunch in the Rodale Café, the Organic Gardening team offered their experience, talking about design, illustration, editing, planning, copy editing and production, as well as marketing and advertising. The results are terrific.

The project has gone from strength to strength. Meredith’s dedication to her students and her passion for giving them the very best learning experience they can have while in her care is nothing short of awe-inspiring; and because of it she is able to draw the best out of each individual and bring them together to create their magazine. Their work together is a perfect testament to what teachers mean to the success of our society and the strength of nation’s future. They deserve our respect and support in whatever way we can give it.

So please, take a moment to listen to the young people are saying, even as you read their words. They are the voice of the future. (Photos courtesy of Michael Harlan Turkell, www.harlanturk.com.)

The Class of 2012 at Rodale with Ethne Clarke

The Class of 2012 at Rodale with Ethne Clarke

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