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"Where Does Our Food Come From?" was the theme of this meeting. We began by exploring the small kitchen garden in the back yard. We located a cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, and various herbs to smell. Next we did an activity when focused on what kind of food each member had for lunch or dinner and linked it back to the animal or plant it came from. We also included a "Hmmm" category for processed foods which had long lost their link to known ingredients. I had made cards with the names of animals and food groups on them for the members to hold up when they thought their card referred to the meal mentioned. I had printed out pictures of sustainable farms and factory farms to give them a sense of where our food really comes from. We looked at ingredients on several boxes and cans of food, and talked about the benefits of eating whole foods rather than processed. Next we did a taste test with regular and organic cucumbers and steamed zucchini. The organic zucchini won hands down, while the cucumbers were evenly split, although everyone agreed the organic cucumber looked better. Lastly, we talked about the power of writing letters. We wrote letters to the manager of our local Vons supermarket thanking them for selling organic foods and encouraging them to sell more. For the youngest members, we had a preprinted letter to which they signed their names and drew pictures.
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Laura, the leader of the group, volunteered at Dr. Jane's Peace Day in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA. I spent the day selling t-shirts and talking to anyone who would listen about the benefits of starting your own Roots & Shoots group. It was a lovely, inspiring day.
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This 24-hour walk-a-thon/marathon raised $60,515 to help the American Cancer Society in its mission to save lives, help those who have been touched by cancer and empower individuals to fight back. Our team raised $545.
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This free carnival provides fun games, prizes, arts and crafts booths and a moon bounce for children with Down's syndrome and other children in the community. We hosted a finger-painting booth, a bubble station and a mini-lacrosse game.
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This 12 hour dance-a-thon raised $23,547.14 for the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Student groups danced together and watched cultural performances from all over the world. Our team raised $220.
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We planted trees in the urban neighborhoods of San Francisco to green the city in honor of the victims of the Virginia Tech tragedy. The gesture of support will be mentioned in the National Roots & Shoots College Leadership Council's letter to the Virginia Tech and affected Roots & Shoots groups.
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We are making and mailing birthday cards to Shane, an 8 year old Leukemia patient in Ottawa, Canada who dreams of breaking the record for the most birthday cards received. Cards can be mailed up to May 30, 2007.
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This initiative was started in collaboration with Cal Corps Public Service Center. We hope to green our campus and city by partnering with local community organizations, such as Path Wanderers, Friends of Five Creeks, Circle K and the East Bay California Native Plant Society. We have successfully completed one project a month and will continue our efforts. We have been working predominantly in the North Berkeley Hills and Lower Cordonices Creek, planting native species, weeding invasive species, building public trails so residents may walk instead of drive through the neighborhood, removing brush that pose a fire hazard, picking up trash, restoring creek habitats and addressing flooding issues near the train tracks. We would like to eventually expand our work to under served communities such as southwest Berkeley and San Antonio/Fruitvale in Oakland.
Sierra Leone
Organic gardening stands out to be the most efficient type of gardening. Owing to the fact that it is done with materials that can be found easily, without cost or much labor to produce. Roots & Shoots Sierra Leone therefore has named their organic gardening project "HEAP" (Healthy Environment Agricultural Practice). Organic gardening has a dual approach: first, it helps to clean the environment and second, it provides healthy food to eat.
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In reality, this project is actually walking the dogs. My brother and I have volunteered to walk our neighbor's dogs. They are two Golden Retrievers. One is young, yet the other has a bone disease and lime disease. Walking them helps keep them in shape, and lets my brother and I enjoy the outdoors. We may actually continue this project.

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