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Service Learning Part I – Food Systems Through the Lens & Pens

It takes a village to become No More Empty Pots. Our supportive community includes participants, volunteers, interns, donors, staff and community partners. We love to partner with the Service Learning Academy from the University of Nebraska Omaha. Educational activities connected to serving others demonstrate our values and our practice of servant leadership.

What’s Service Learning? Service Learning is a method of teaching that combines classroom instruction with meaningful community service. This form of learning emphasizes critical thinking and personal reflection while encouraging a heightened sense of community, civic engagement, and personal responsibility.

This semester, NMEP participated in a Service-Learning partnership with students from Professor Bowen’s UNO photography class and Mrs. Mckenna’s Montessori Co-Op Elementary writing class. This Service-Learning project introduced youth and young adults to NMEP, our community partners, collaborators and the local food system while celebrating and showcasing those relationships through art.

Over the last three months, both groups engaged with NMEP and John Porter, Nebraska Extension Educator, from UNL NE Extension. Touring the Food Hub, students learned about culinary and workforce training, food entrepreneurship, food rescue and zero waste practices.

On a visit to the UNL NE Extension office, they observed post-harvest preparation of produce that was harvested earlier in the week. What’s post-harvest prep? Post-harvest activities include harvesting, handling, storage, processing, packaging, transportation and marketing. CLICK HERE for tips on harvesting your fruits and vegetables.

Together, the UNO and Montessori students ventured to Bryan High School to meet with students participating in an internship project where they built a farm safety plan and hydroponics farm. What’s a hydroponics farm? This type of farming is the process of growing plants without soil. CLICK HERE to learn how to start your own hydroponics system.

The photography class took amazing photos of their adventures which inspired creative writing pieces from the elementary students. The culmination of their works will be displayed in the NMEP Food Hub.

Click on the pictures below for a sneak peek of their amazing art and writing pieces!

Check out part two of our Service Learning series featuring UNO’s Speech Class & Marian High’s Senior Pottery Class next month!

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