Slow Food Charleston
Youth Community Action Club
YCAC: Kids Helping Kids
“Young adults on the trail to educating the youth in our community”
Who: Some dynamic young students got together in their freshman year of high school and
formed a group whose mission is to serve the local community in a meaningful
way by offering their time and inspiration. They work under the auspice
of Slow Food Charleston and are called Slow Food YCAC, Youth community Action
What: Their inspirations have included the planting of a garden in an old pick-up truck
which with the support of Whole Foods traveled to local elementary schools in
the Mount Pleasant area last fall spreading the wisdom of eating healthy by
engaging kids in fun tasting activities. This year the group had
the vision of designing and constructing a permanent traveling garden trailer
that they would use as a mobile classroom. Once again, Whole Foods
supported their idea and through that sponsorship and a grant from Slow Food
Charleston YCAC students spent their summer designing, building, painting,
planting and writing a plant/earth science based curriculum with an incorporation of elements of
nutrition and sustainability practices directed toward 1st thru 3rd grade
Where and When:Tuesday afternoon’s one might catch sight of this traveling greenhouse transversing the
bridge as it heads up to North Charleston to teach a group of 13 students in
the Wings Program at James Simons elementary. YCAC plans to bring their
programming to other local elementary after school programs in the spring of
Grayson Frizzelle and Maela Singh are the co-founders of the
Slow Food Charleston Youth Community Action Club (YCAC). They are both high
school students in the class of 2014 at Ashley Hall School in Charleston,
SC. During the summer of 2010,
completely independent of each other, both young women had the idea to create a
club with their friends that would provide volunteer community service hours
related to things they were interested in:
cooking, healthy eating, sustainable gardening and the Slow Food
They got together and worked on a plan. First they gathered a group of interested
friends from three different high schools in town. Collectively they discussed
roles of club members and voted on and created a leadership board within the
club. These board positions included: co-leaders, secretary, treasurer, events
planning chair, marketing chair, membership chair, technology chair, and
volunteer coordinator chair.
In the early fall of 2010, the independent club was formed,
under the auspices of Slow Food Charleston.
Since its inception the club’s members have completed over 400 hours of
community service, supporting not only Slow Food Charleston’s endeavors and
mission throughout the community, but also their own independently initiated
and self-supported projects.
The mission statement of the club states:
The goal of Slow Food Youth Community Action Club (SF YCAC)
is to support people in the Charleston area by providing volunteer hours and
inspiration to help improve the local community’s knowledge about healthy
eating and healthy lifestyle choices.
The club members earn community service hours for their efforts and gain
valuable personal leadership skills through the management of the club, its
members, and its executive board.
The first year of the club’s launch, the members
participated in a variety of Slow Food Charleston related events and other
community projects in need of support.
During the fall of 2011 the club planted a truck farm in partnership and
collaboration with their local Whole Foods grocery store and a comprehensive
film series presented by Slow Food Charleston.
This truck farm traveled to local schools and was used as a valuable teaching
tool in lessons on nutrition and cooking. YCAC students coordinated with community professionals to
develop the graphic design of the truck, organized the plant material and planted the garden
in the truck, participated in some of the school presentations, and made a
comprehensive video, which documented the project from start to finish ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBOC2in2vwk)
The documentary was shown as an opening short
film at the Charleston premier of the full-length movie Truck Farm. The DVD of the
YCAC documentary was sent to a number of national high profile figures
committed to the cause of healthy eating, including first lady, Mrs. Michelle
Obama. Mrs. Obama wrote to Grayson and
Maela and the entire YCAC to thank them for their efforts.
Slow Food Charleston
Youth Community Action
Inlight of the success of the 2011 truck farm, the YCAC decided to embark upon
another similar venture, this time with more interaction between the YCAC members
and elementary school students. The YCAC’s goal was to create a mobile garden classroom they could transport
to local after school programs that would serve as an aid in reinforcing the
science-based curriculum they developed.
The YCAC also wanted to provide very significant leadership and “team leader”
responsibilities for its members.
Grayson and Maela devised a structural organization and timeline for the
project. To fund the project, they
presented the idea to the Board of Directors of Slow Food Charleston and to key
leadership at Whole Foods Mt. Pleasant.
Both organizations agreed to sponsor the program. In the early summer of
2012 the project took off.
The premise of the project for the 2012 fall semester is as
The YCAC Engineering Team (Team Leader:
Grayson Frizzelle), using principles of engineering, will design and implement
the construction of a “traveling garden” trailer to be used as an
educational classroom, traveling to schools within the Charleston County
The YCAC Curriculum Team (Team Leader:
Clayton Buckaloo) will write and provide materials and activities for a
14-lesson curriculum focusing on science, health and nutrition for elementary
aged students. These lessons will center on students’ exploration of the
“traveling garden” and will also use art projects, tastings and
demonstrations as the medium for fostering students’
learning. YCAC will work with established
organizations such as Yo Art! and Wings for Kids with the goal of
addressing students in Charleston county afterschool programs. The
curriculum will be designed using standards set forth by the South Carolina
Department of Education.
The YCAC Graphic Design Team (Team
Leaders: Kells McPhillips and Maela Singh) will work with the project’s
sponsors (Whole Foods Mt. Pleasant and Slow Food Charleston) to create a
dramatic, graphic and “child friendly” design to give the traveling garden a
unique and eye-catching look.
The YCAC Garden Planting Team (Team
Leader: Mina Rismani) will research seasonal and native plant material and
organic gardening processes and implement this knowledge in the planting
of the garden bed.
The YCAC After School Programming-
Teaching Team (Team Leaders: Clayton Buckaloo, Grayson Frizzelle, Gabby Giles
and Maela Singh) will communicate with participating organizations and YCAC
members, gather teaching materials and travel with the educational garden to
a local elementary school where they will teach curriculum. The
curriculum will consist of 14 once-a-week 40 minute presentations after school,
taught by YCAC members and partner organization.
What We Do: Americans are becoming more aware of the social, economic, and environmental impact of the food choices we make every day. Based on Slow Food’s belief that food can bring people together to create lasting change, our national and Charleston programs work to educate through school initiatives, to promote local and regional foods, to safeguard biodiversity, and to connect people around the region with their food and those who grow it.
The Charleston Red Slow Food Youth Community Action Club (YCAC) recently completed an exciting project for the premier of the documentary film “Truck Farm”, one of a series of films presented by Slow Food Charleston and sponsored by Whole Foods Market. Using a donated truck, soil and seedlings, YCAC members planted a truck farm on September 17, 2011. Beginning October 12, the truck farm, together with chefs from Whole Foods Market, journeyed to eight local elementary schools to talk about what was growing and to prepare recipes using ingredients being grown on the truck. The YCAC created a documentary short of their experience showcasing the creation and community service application of a local truck garden and presented their film at the screening of “Truck Farm” on October 27.
Culinary Training for Charleston and Dorchester County School Foodservice Workers
This culinary course, first ever, was funded by the Charleston Tri-County chapter of Eat Smart, Move More and Slow Food Charleston, and taught by Chef Michael Carmel of the Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College who designed the program and donated his time. The purpose was to develop an overall awareness among school foodservice staff of how to cook healthy food for public school children using better cooking methods, ingredients, and to integrate this food into the schools’ meal programs. Sixteen foodservice staff were selected from eleven different schools for this initial training.