LEAF 2013 - A Journey of Discovery!

Take the LEAF 2013 Food Survey

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Insider Observations on Good Earth by Ian

Good Earth Market

Fairfax’s Good Earth Market, founded in 1969, really is concerned about the planet. All the food they sell is organic and all natural, and they use solar power for their energy needs. The products tell you how far away they originated from, and label whether it’s whole grain, raw, fairtrade, gluten free, vegan, non-GMO, locally produced, or if it is refined sugar containing. All of the meat there is also free range or grass fed, and the fish they sell is either labeled green for sustainable and safe, or yellow, for somewhat sustainable. You can also buy everything from flour to chocolate covered almonds in bulk, with your nifty reusable bag, and they have counters for various, healthy meals you can eat right there. They except the Fairbuck, Fairfax’s local currency, and a portion goes to neighborhood projects. It also happens to have amazing, in season, produce. It is one of the coolest grocery stores out there, if you can pay the hefty price.

We took a tour of the market with Sheila, one of the employees, and she told us all about the whole place, while people hurried about trying not to get in the way. We learned about all the reasons why organic or non-GMO was better, and got to meet a few of the other employees. Everyone kept their rapt attention on Sheila, even though they may have just been bluffing, for everyone was notified beforehand that after the tour they could buy something for $5 or less. Well, once we were done and fully saturated in West Marin food culture, we all searched for something to purchase. I and many others fell upon the ice cream, possibly because we didn’t want to go to any of the other counters with no hard cash and backup support. Some of the smarter kids realized that they could get a pint of Three Twins ice cream for 5 bucks and wolfed it down on the bus, but I just got a scoop of Mint Confetti for $3. I didn’t experience any after effects.

~ Ian

The Food Bank through Aliya's Eyes

At the SF FOOD BANK the LEAF Academy got to sort tomatoes and package brown rice. It felt like we were workers there. After, we played an amazing game called Hunger 101. Were we played a game that helped us understand what it is like to be without money or enough food to eat. We had to have a family member and we got a certain amount of money to buy groceries for a whole day. The SF FOOD BANK is letting people come there to come and get food for themselves and their families.

~ Aliya

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Reflecting on our Explorations

Online Food Survey

A majority of the people responding to our food survey like food less than 100 miles
Most are shopping for weekly groceries for families.
These people would go to a fast food restaurant for the accessibility
People like good foods and expect it to be yummy. We’re glad people care about the foods they eat :D!! People said they wanted their food to be grown within a 100 mile radius of where they live. People answering our questions are label readers and determine organic food by reading labels.

~ Sam

Laurel Dell

We went on a hike on Mt Tam and we had so much fun! When we got there we went to the bottom of a hill and stood in our circle to talk about watersheds and the health of the ecosystem. We went into the stream to catch and count creatures to figure out if it was healthy. I caught salamanders! We taught each other about about the place on a nature hike and I learned that moss can suck a lot of water.

~ Alex


The SFPUC Southeastern Plant has been around since the 1950s. They’ve been treating people’s waste for a long time. Their mission is to make wastewater as clean as possible and release it into the bay so that no animals get harmed.

LEAF’S mission there was to learn about and to understand the way water treatment works. We also watched a DVD to also observe how everything works. When we went to all the stations of the sewer, it smelled really BAD.

At the sewer, I was impressed by how much cleaner the water looked after the treatment. It was really challenging to withstand the smell of the raw sewage. I learned a lot of things. I learned about the steps in cleaning the water. I also learned that you could damage the system by flushing down dental floss. It was fun and I learned a lot!

You can get involved by going to www.sfsewers.org or call 415-554-3289

Written by Trey and partly Luke


Recology's mission is to make San Francisco a greener place. They try to make as many things reusable, recyclable, or reduce that product. They also do compost. They get almost millions of tons if not more recycling everyday and they separate them into different areas to be reused. The trash that they get can still be mostly composted or recycled but they are working on it! We went to Recology so we could be more knowledgeable about how recycling gets completed. We also toured the place and learned that you can dig in the trash and make art out of what you found. That's a cool way to reuse objects. One thing I learned, is that the bats (cubes) of recycling they organize recycling into weigh one ton each! Also, the recycling factories are very big and wide and very few people work in the space like that. All you need to do to get involved is recycle more and get smarter about it. You can also go to www.recology.com to check it out!

~ Trey

City Slicker Farms

The mission at City Slicker Farms is to help families get healthy organic food. We accomplished helping some families have something to eat by working on the farm in West Oakland. I learned how to pick a ripe plum. The ripe plums connect to one fact of life because they need the sun to grow. Get involved by volunteering and visit www.cityslikerfarms.org!

~ Noelly

SF Food Bank

The mission of the SF Food Bank is to make sure all families in SF and Marin have a daily meal. LEAF students helped the food bank fulfill their mission by sorting tomatoes and packing 1pound bags of rice out of a 100 pound bag.  I learned that 1 out of 4 people in SF goes hungry every day in San Francisco.  When I think about this fact, I feel both sad and grateful.  I feel sad knowing people do not have enough food to eat. I feel grateful because my family has all the food they want and need.  The SF Food Bank has 25,000 volunteers help them every year, but they can always use more help. Everyone can make a difference by volunteering.

~ Rou Rou

Heart of the City Farmers’ Market

Heart of the City Farmers’ Market was made over 30 years ago, in 1981, to bring in fresh, affordable produce from local farms to SF for low-income families or anybody who loves to get free handouts. It is really cool because it is run by local farmers with a passion for bringing healthy and nutritious food to this “food desert” in the “Heart of SF”. At the famers’ market, LEAF conducted a survey about food quality. Many people did not want to take the survey but a whole lot more did! It was a way to learn if the people in SF like to know what is in their food. Everybody had lots of fun and loved eating the yummy snacks. I learned that it is very hard to get high-quality produce at an affordable price but this farmers’ market makes it easy and assessable. I also learned that most people care if their food is organic or is gluten free. I am very pleased that many people care about their health. If you want to get involved you would probably have to buy a vendor to sell produce or you can help by going there and shopping for goodies. I think it is very fun for the family to go and shop there and it there are very healthy and delicious food choices!

~ Lauren

Smitten's Ice Cream

This is how Smitten's Ice Cream started. The proud owner of Smitten's, Robyn Sue Fisher, spent 5 years making a machine that would make ice cream with liquid nitrogen. This made the ice cream softer and creamier. This machine made it so the ingredients could be fresh. So she used this machine to sell ice cream around the neighborhood on a red wagon. Then, she opened a shop that was made out of one of those huge shipping containers.

What we did there was that we learned about their ice cream (what is in it, how it is made.) I t is super unique because they use liquid nitrogen to freeze it! We ate some of their ice cream, and we had fun.

~ Luke

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ian Rethinks Fritjof's "Facts of Life!"

Mysteries of life Explained

Fact of life: Life emerged victorious because of socializing, not fighting.

This sounds sort of weird the way I put it, but it’s true. If you think about it, it makes sense; the process of evolution works in favor of everybody, not just one species. Plants evolved to produce fruit in order for other animals to eat it and spread its seeds, helping the plant reproduce and nourishing other animals. Life depends on each other to survive, because all species are specially adapted to help other species, which in turn help others. This in turn keeps in place a system of checks and balances which keeps species from overpopulation or extinction, a process otherwise known as the food chain. Big predators keep in check smaller and smaller prey and eventually plants so food production and reproduction is fairly constant.

That is until humans come along. Humans are not inherently bad, it’s just that we have grown to smart, so this system does not apply to us, and that means we get reckless for the rest of life's sake. Now that we have the ability and numbers to do mass produced farming effectively and build heavy machinery that can harvest and use natural resources for our own benefit with no need for consideration for anything else, we are wrecking the planet. We extract oil in anyway possible, mine for metals and coal that we want, deforest the planet for wood and agricultural purposes, build dams and canals for drainage, water and hydroelectric purposes, and basically build tall skyscrapers and put people and asphalt everywhere. And what do we give back to the earth? Almost nothing. You can see this pattern is not sustainable and if we continue, will result in our downfall. One ordinary person can try their hardest to be as eco- friendly as possible, try not to use fossil-fuel related things, recycle and possibly compost, buy from local organic farms, save electricity, but unless 7 billion people commit to giving back to the Earth and stop reckless development fairly quickly, we as humans are doomed, but life will always prevail through socializing.

Concept: A Watershed System

All water has to go somewhere, and the force of gravity makes it go down, eventually ending up in rivers, streams and lakes, which lead it to the ocean. This connected patchwork of waterways is known as a watershed, and has a unique ecosystem. Migrating birds come to nest in the reeds in the marshes, and salmon swim upstream from the ocean to lay their eggs where they were born. But humans put up dams which disrupt the flow of water and make it hard for the salmon swimming upstream to get past, and that makes so less and less salmon come every year. Runoff from roads brings oil to the river, pipes take water from the river for drinking and agriculture, and concrete keeps water from saturating into the dirt, making it flood more easily. What you can do is try to restore your nearby creek and take away sediment that clogs the waterway and petition to remove the dams.

~ Ian

The "Facts of Life" Through Rou Rou's Eye's

Fact of Life Concept: Most energy driving the ecological cycles flows from the sun.

1. My interpretation: All living things on earth depend on the sun.
2. I think it is important for people to know what they actually depend on for life.
3. There are many ways to utilize the sun’s strength to help us. Some ways include drying, heat, and lighting.  In other developing countries it would be helpful to know how to capture the sun to light homes at night or to heat a hospital. In the U.S we use solar energy but we also use a lot of oil and electricity. If we could figure out how to use more solar energy perhaps we could stop using oil, gas, electricity.


1. Organic means something is grown without pesticides and is natural. 
2. I think it is important for people to know this concept because might help people make better, healthier food choices.

3. I already make good food choices because I support local farmers. My family only buys organic food when it is an option. I am also a vegetarian and a pescatarian and I do not eat any meat. I only eat sustainable fish and organic fruit and vegetables.

Fritjof Capra's "Facts of Life" through the eyes of our young leaders

Fact of Life: Diversity assures resilience.
In my own words: Differences assure rebelliousness. This fact of life is important to know because one person can make a change in their community or in the world with just a little resistance. This can help me to change people’s choices by helping my community have food and end hunger.

~ Anthony

Fact of Life: Most of the earth's energy streams from the sun while driving through the Ecological cycles. This fact is important because people might want to know about it. I can make better choices by maybe not using a lot of electricity.

Concept: Decomposer - this concept is important because it gives plants nutrients. We can use this concept because plants need nutrients to stay health and for us to eat.

~ Aliya

The fact of life I chose was "One species' waste, is another species' food." In other words, one animals' trash, is another animals' meal. This fact is important for people to know because it means that not everything is junk. This fact is a little different for us humans. An easy way to understand it is one man's trash is another man's treasure. This can help me make better choices in life because I can think about this fact when I recycle. Some things that you think are garbage can actually be of use. The concept I chose was "Development". It is important because we have to go through it and also nature does too. I can use this to make better choices by remembering that things aren't always going to be the same.

~ Noelly

Fact of life: Lots of species can get food from another's waste (one species waste is another species food.)

If we didn't have certain species, we would not have the variety of foods we have today. But some animals are endangered or close to extinction. Everyday, you can understand that the food I'm eating that's natural started out as a living thing's waste. You can be more grateful for the fact the plants and animals that help out the whole world of living things. I can eat more of those things to keep me healthy because other processed foods are not good for my body.

Concept: A living thing that lives on animal meat (carnivore.)

Don't mess up a animal's diet by feeding it. Just don't feed it at all. Also, you should know if the animal is carnivorous, and it can eat you, stay away! Don't stand near an animal can possibly eat you. Cats are carnivores. So you can feed them right. ex: Tigers, Lions

These are two things you can live by everyday!

~ Trey

LEAF: The Facts of Life

Diversity assures resilience, meaning that when people of all different ages, genders, or races come together, they create a great community that is powerful and cannot be broken no matter the obstacle. That is why everybody loves America because many people don’t mind what your race is. I think using this fact of life can be used to make better choices because it tells you to accept people for whom they are and for not what they look like. Everybody should know this because there are still people who judge others because of their race and not on who they really are inside.            

Waste is a material or object that is no longer needed after a period of time, but sometimes people think waste is something THEY don’t use anymore even though somebody else may use it. Many times, people throw away their “waste” but it can actually can be recycled or composted. It is important for everyone to know about waste because it fills up our landfills which it bad for our earth and takes many years to decompose. I think people should use the word waste everyday and expose it to others so they know that the bin they put their scraps in can affect our earth and themselves in the long run.

~ Lauren

“One Pig's Loss Is Another Pig's Game” This fact is important to all people because it shows that the things we eat are part of a bigger cycle of food that travels through different species, but not many people realize it. You can use this in your day-to-day life by thinking of all the stages the thing your eating has gone through, making you have a new vision about food.

~ Gabe

Glossary of Terms: Diversity.
In my own words: I think diversity means that you can make a difference and you can help change your community. This is important for all people to know because you can make difference you can change your community or even the world. I can use this in my daily life by helping and changing my community.

~ Anthony

My favorite fact of life is “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
My version is “one man’s trash is another man’s come up.”
This fact is important because everything can be used again.
We all can use this fact to help by not throwing everything away and knowing that you could be using some one else’s trash.

My favorite concept is “natural recourses.”
In my own words this is, “Use nature! It can help!”
This concept is important because we all can use nature to help! Solutions do not always have to be modern. We can make better choices by not just using modern stuff but by using what is already all around us.

~ Ben

Fact of life: One species waste is another species food
I think of that as a life cycle example if a moth dies than that is a bats dinner. In other words if something passes on than its waste can be something else's food.

~ Khatab

City Slicker Farms - Providing Affordable Fresh Vegetables to Underserved Neighborhoods

On day 3 of LEAF at City Slicker Farms, the good thing that happened was we cleaned up the weeds, and the bad part is the bathroom in the recycling center. Today, I learned that chickens hate water, and if you want inexpensive vegetables just go to City Slick Farms!

~ Marvin

Today we went to City Slicker Farms and we helped them on the farm. We also got to analyze our data from our food survey. One thing I noticed was that lots of people at the farmers market get weekly groceries and are tourists. We also got to pick chicken eggs at City Slicker Farms. It was an awesome experience!

~  Khatab

Slicker Farms

Today I went to Slicker Farms in Oakland. The garden was very nice and had a lot of organic plants. I helped water the blueberry bushes and a pineapple guava bush.
I am interested in the farm because I would like to transform my own backyard into an amazing organic food garden.  It was interesting to learn that they created planter boxes instead of planting directly into the ground. I was surprised to learn that they use chicken manure to provide nutrients to the plants. I think they did an awesome job growing the garden. I was super impressed by the whole experience.

~ Rou Rou

Jason and I are incredibly impressed by the depth and breadth of information and experience Rou Rou is having. I don't think she has ever had a more complete educational experience!!! Thank you for all your hard work!

~ Shelli

Today we went to a farm. We got the chance to help them by doing some tasks. We split into groups and got to work. The first job my group got to do was plum picking. They looked fresh and delicious! Our job was finished pretty quickly, so afterwards, we got to do other jobs. It was fun, but something that wasn't so fun was the bathroom. The closest bathroom was at a recycle center, and they weren't very clean if I were to put it in the nicest way I could think of. On the other hand, overall I had a great time and hope to have more fun. I wander how the next place will look like and what kind of new things I will learn!!!

~ Noelly

Today we made posters about the surveys on the 3rd day. We each had two of the questions from the surveys and everyone put stickers on the paper chart to show what answers they got from people. There was also was a tally chart and we presented them to the group and showed what we noticed on the chart compared to other people.

We had lunch at the school and then took the bus to Oakland to Slicker Farms. We were put right to work and my group went to a plum tree with Todd and we picked a lot of plums and put them in numerous baskets. After that, we went back to the farm and weeded the area. There were barely any weeds. Yay! Then, my group and another one went to another area with plants to either get bugs off plants or weed that area. Marvin, Gabe, and I had a lot of fun hitting weeds as hard as we could and at the same time, we successfully got most weeds removed.

After that, I had to go to the bathroom and we went to one of Oakland's Recology areas. Soooooooooo different. We waited forever for someone to clean the bathroom but after, we came back but I was sad because we had nothing to weed. I watched Ben saw off parts of branches and ate sour apples. Then, we all gathered to the main farm and learned about the history of the farm. I learned that the farm was there since 2001 and they are very convenient to people who don't have much money when the farmers market stand was open.

Once again, my highlight was being on the bus with my friends and laughing hard. Also, the physical labor got me to get a new friend by doing the labor together. I hope the new friendship gets stronger. I hope tomorrow's a day of joy and laughter. 4th day going on 5.

~ Trey

On day five we made graphs to show what was in the foods surveys completed by everyone at the Civic Center Farmers’ Market. When we were at the City Slicker Farms, I was impressed about how many people wanted their food to taste good (impressed, not surprised). Around 40 people. I don't know what was challenging. I learned about how to coil a hose. I think it was great to work on the farm to have that experience.

~ Luke

City Slicker Farms

We combined all of our surveys and looked to see how many people buy organic food or bike there or like gluten. Then we took the bus to City Slicker Farms in Oakland. We helped clear out all the chicken poop, which is surprisingly big; we also picked plums, swept spider webs, pulled weeds, scrapped scale, etc. It felt good to take action. Todd told me to say a fact of life so “one creature's waste is another's food.”

My thorn is getting the stuff in my eye.

My rose was eating the warm apple and I wanted an apple for the whole summer.

~ Sam

Today I loved going to the urban farms and making charts about are survey. I learned that most people go to fast food restaurants because they are cheap. I also learned at the farm that you can use tree branches as stakes. I have lots of fun this past week exploring new things.

~ Ben