If you were to go to one of the local fresh markets in Pa Deng, you'd see that the majority of the fruits and vegetables come from Bangkok. In such an agriculturally rich region of Thailand, why are local people buying their groceries from vendors whose produce comes 4 hours on a truck from an urban concrete megacity? Even more baffling is that most vegetables and fruits grown in Pa Deng are sent on trucks to be sold in Bangkok. There are thousands of food miles attached to the produce we buy and eat, making food less fresh, more often treated with synthetic fertilizers and preservatives and more expensive.
At Rise Up we create opportunities for kids and their families to access fresh, organic and locally grown produce. Not only are these kids receiving the benefits of good nutrition, but they're also gaining work ethic, practical skills and meaningful relationships as they work together with their peers.
Rise Up raises 90 free range chickens. A team of hard-working kids help feed and care for the hens every day after school. Every child who helps gets to bring home fresh eggs at the end of the week. We also use these eggs to make lunches
for Saturday programs at the Center.
The vegetable garden is another opportunity for the children to learn responsibility and experience the joy of a job well done. The children help with every step of the gardening process, from digging the garden beds to setting up the sprinkler system to weeding and harvesting. The kids can take these vegetables home to their families or they can sell them to neighbors.
Together we're taking small steps to influence meaningful change in the food system of our community.