Reflecting on the Scout Oath to “help other people at all times,” we have been involved in various community service projects. With a shared passion for tackling food insecurity and sustainability issues, we team up to pursue our journey with Food For Change.
Come meet the Food For Change team!
Bo Chi - A big part of my community service has involved food, starting with bringing canned foods to drives since I was little. When I first volunteered at a local food bank in 6th grade, I worked on stacks of potatoes, almost as tall as myself. The repugnant smell rose as I reached into the deep containers, sorting out the good potatoes from the bad ones, and putting those suitable to be given into bags.
These experiences made me grateful and reflect on the meals I was fortunate to have, but many questions were also raised. What had happened to the potatoes? Why were they not given fresh?
I kept going back to volunteer in the coming years, always greeted with the same site of towering potatoes, hoping to pick out a hearty tuber, rather than a ball of mush. On one occasion, the spiderwebs of mold within the potatoes became so bad that the supervisor made the decision to toss it all out. These images were plastered in my mind, and I thought to myself, “what more can I do to help?”
Fast forward to 2020, and the same imagery appeared again, except on a news screen, and on a far greater scale. Pictures showing tons and tons of onions, green beans, cabbages and more other fresh food got dumped, uneaten, were as disturbing as the disrupted food supply chain during the pandemic. It intensified the food loss problem that already accounted for 30-40% of US food supply even pre-pandemic. Sadly, one in six Americans experienced food insecurity which continues to worsen, and many cannot have fresh food on their tables. The huge food loss also creates enormous health, economic and environmental problems.
I started service projects on food waste and community solutions when the unexpected pandemic kept me at home. I teamed up with friends to develop a mobile app called GoCompost, which is already available for download on Apple App and Google Play Stores, as a practical tool to promote community composting. We applied technology and developed this mobile solution to address low composting participation, while people stayed and ate at home more during the pandemic lockdown, when residential food waste rose. The app helped users access composting programs and adopt this daily environmental action. Following the GoCompost project, I felt like there was more that needed to be done and led the effort to organize a community-wide Compost-A-Thon. With Food For Change, I continued to work with my team members on community solutions to address the lack of fresh food in many families.
Yichen Sun -I have been passionate about reducing waste since a young age. Starting from 7th grade, I got interested in disassembling and refurbishing old computers to give them a new life. I made videos on my journey and posted them on my Youtube channel, Tigersteve Tech (https://www.youtube.com/c/TigersteveTech). My videos have reached audiences around the world.
In my high school freshmen year, I participated in the congressional app design contest, developing an app to motivate composting, a process that turns food wastes into useful fertilizers. Our app won 2nd place in the 14th congressional district. After that project, I heard that the Town of Chapel Hill needed to reopen one of its composting demonstration sites. Therefore I designed a project to renovate the site, hoping the idea of composting to reach a larger audience. In this project, I learned the power of volunteerism, and refined my skills in building and construction. The upcoming fresh food drive project allows me to further my passion on reducing food waste and allowing fresh food to reach people in need. I am excited to continue my commitment to creating a more sustainable future.
Jay Weaver - I have always been involved in doing service to others since I was little. In first grade I started Cub Scouts and thoroughly enjoyed it, as well as the introduction to serving others, such as cleaning creeks, and writing to veterans over the holidays. In 2019 I joined boy scouts and I have been participating in many service projects such as clearing and making trails, additionally distributing food to less fortunate families.
Now I feel the next level of responsibility and I am able to take action on my own regard now, by not only working as a team member for food4change, but applying the leadership skills i've learned to my in progress Eagle service project.
Yikuan Sun - From attending an educational program, taking classes in school, and participating in different activities, I’ve been learning a lot recently about energy usage and how it can help or hurt humans and the environment we live in. Alas, energy usage has been in the frontlines of every major human achievement, from the agricultural revolution to the invention of the smartphone.
Science shows that it plays an important role in climate change and will affect the future of our planet. One thing that I find particularly interesting is how food production uses energy, oftentimes very inefficiently. I think this aspect of our energy footprint in particular is very underlooked, especially since 30-40% of US food supply gets wasted, even though at the same time some people lack access to good food. I want to contribute to fixing this, and crafting a brighter energy future.