Keep Austin Fed: Bridging the Gap Between Food Surplus and Food Insecurity
Austin Texas is one of the greenest cities in America. Austin Energy has been ranked as the No. 1 green energy program in the country by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. It is no surprise that, being a city that is so energy efficient and conscious, it is also a city that places particular emphasis on combating the problem of food waste.
Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in America. From 2010-2015, the city saw a 16.6% population growth rate. This means more food importation to support the rapidly increasing population. This inherently means more food waste. However, the city of Austin is looking to stop this. Economical, environmental, and beneficial reasons to the city aside, there are many impoverished and poor people in the Austin area who could benefit from food consciousness and donations.
In Austin alone, there are over 120 companies that offer food assistance to people in need. One of these companies that helps prevent food waste by donating to shelters and in turn help people in need is Keep Austin Fed. This company’s mission is to gather leftover food from restaurants and other places and deliver it to shelters and places like SafePlace.
Keep Austin Fed began in 2004, and has continuously been helping to reduce food waste and feed the hungry in one joint mission. The volunteers at KAF are crucial to the mission, they put lots of their time forth to help bridge the gap between food surplus and food insecurity.
*I am scheduled to go to KAF this week to volunteer and take photos*
*Planning on asking questions like, “What made you start volunteering? How long have you been volunteering for? What is your favorite part about it? What does a regular day of volunteering entail?”*
*I have been in contact with a few organizations who receive the surplus food so I am planning on going to talk to them to discuss how much KAF makes a difference to their organization and who it benefits the most*
*Planning on putting a photo slideshow together that illustrates the work Keep Austin Fed does and the joy it brings people, possibly a short video as well to fully capture the work that Keep Austin Fed does and it’s importance to the organizations it helps.*
Maddie: Today I’m sitting here with Maria-Elena Navarro from Trinidad, and I’m going to ask her some questions about being an international student. So, tell me a little about yourself.
Maria-Elena:So I’m from the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago. So like the last islands of the Caribbean chain, and I have lived their for my entire life. My parents are both Trinidadian. I founded the Caribbean students association, so we can spread the fun vibe of the Caribbean culture here in the states.
Maddie: Maria-Elena, how did you choose to come to the U.S.?
Maria-Elena: My dad went to St. Ed’s, so when I had to choose a university I came to this one because he said it was good.
Maddie: Have you ever been put in a situation which you needed to clarify stereotypes or assumptions about your home culture?
Maria-Elena: Yes, because I am caucasian, people automatically assume I am not from Trinidad, but when I say that I am people are like no but seriously where are your parents from. There are white people in Trinidad too you know.
Maddie: Has your experience here helped you gain an appreciation for the world?
Maria-Elena: Well I have to say in Trinidad we are real culturally diverse, so we have lots of different people there, but here as well, and I think that’s been kind of helpful because it has continued to leave me exposed to different diversities.
Maddie: What are the biggest challenges you’ve had being an international student here at St. Ed’s?
Maria-Elena: Visa Issues.
Maddie: What were your visa issues?
Maria-Elena: Basically it’s really difficult to get a visa and when I’m in Trinidad and want to apply for one in the states, Trinidad does not really have the best track record, which is unfair. You have to go through this really long process and it takes months for your visa to even be approved, and then at any minute it could be cancelled. So, it’s really really scary and you feel vulnerable because of it.
Maddie: Are you considering staying in the US after graduation or are you looking to go back to Trinidad?
Maria-Elena: Yeah, I’m applying for my OPT visa which basically grants you one year to work in the states within the nature that you studied. So, I definitely think that is a great opportunity so I’m going to take that hopefully like I have applied for it already so once it comes through I will stay here and try and work for a year, and then I will go back home.
Maddie: Thank you Maria-Elena for taking time out of your day to let us know what it’s like being an international student at St. Ed’s.
This has promise, Madison. Now, how do you make an “issue,” which is what you’ve described here, into a story? Who are the characters? How will your story begin, what’s in the middle? The end? What multimedia will you use? Be sure you carefully read the assignment and meet all deadlines. We’ll talk more in class about these. JH
The story I am thinking about doing is about food waste in Austin. Because many people in Austin consider themselves environmentally friendly, I am curious as to how many people are aware of their food waste contributions to society, as well as learning more about the companies who try and help prevent food waste.
Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in America. From 2010-2015, the city saw a 16.6% population growth rate. This means more food importation to support the rapidly increasing population. This inherently means more food waste. I want to know just about how much the citizens of Austin care about food waste and how much they are working to stop it.
I would like to go to some of the companies who help to prevent food waste and talk with them about what they are doing to help prevent food waste as well as how they plan to further help this problem we have. I would also like to talk to a diverse group of people about whether they care and if yes/no, why. Following up with that what they do to stop it. I could create a map to see which parts of Austin seem to care more about food waste, as well as create strong footage of just how much food is wasted in Austin and how it can be given to others who need it.
- Brainstorm possible news story ideas. If it helps you may think about news story ideas by using some of your own life experiences and those of your family, friends, neighbors and community. Think about what makes the stories interesting and important, select 2 and write them down.
One possible story idea would be about what it is like being someone who is non-binary in Texas. Another story idea would be about the “We are all Texas; A Day of Action for Immigrant and Refugee Rights!” Rally happening on February 28th.
- Think about news values (timeliness, proximity, conflict and controversy, human interest, relevance), pick one of your story ideas from question #1 above and explain which news values are present in your story.
The first story idea I have is about being non-binary in Texas. Considering the new President and his staff’s values and beliefs, I think it would be interesting to see how individuals now feel about what is going to happen with how they identify. This story can be about the progress that has been made for them in the past, but also about what they believe the future holds with the new President.
- Identify and list potential sources and interviewees for your story.
I have two friends who identify as non-binary and are very vocal about it. I think they would be great to interview to have the input from someone being directly affected. I also believe interviewing regular people to see their beliefs and if they differ would create another side to the story.
- Think about some of the interactive media elements from thought exercise #2. What types (photos, video, interactive maps, etc.) of interactive media would add depth and understanding to your story?
I think adding video and photos could be extremely helpful in illustrating how people feel and what they believe will happen. The visuals are very important in relating to the story I believe.
- Explain why the public would find the story relevant, interesting or important.
I think the public would find the story relevant, interesting, and important because of the current state of our nation. I think hearing first hand from non-binary people would allow the public to be very interested in the story. I also think because of the beliefs of the new President and Vice President, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the topic that is important to our nation.
1. How do you get most of your news?
Through App Notifications or Magazines
2. What device do you prefer when interacting with news stories online?
3. Do you read any print newspapers regularly? If so, which ones?
I have magazine subscriptions to the New York Times, The New Yorker, Vogue, Bon Appetit and Vanity Fair
4. Do you watch TV News (network or Cable). If so, which programs?
5. Do you listen to news on the radio? If so, what programs?
6. What is your favorite news or entertainment website?
7. How often do you read, watch or listen to news stories?
Less than once/week: ____
2-3 times/month: ____
2-3 times/week: ____
8. Please write the response that applies next to each question:
News organizations play a key role in democracy: __yes__
Politicians are not held accountable by journalists: __yes__
The media I consume keeps me informed about my community: _yes_
News organizations hurt democracy: _I don’t know_
The reporting of facts and events is important for our society: _yes_
I have knowingly shared a fake news story on social media at least once: _No_
I have shared a story I later realized was fake news on social media at least once: _No_