[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_An6zXK3ac&w=560&h=315]

A (not so) long time ago, in a galaxy (not so) far far away…

FEEST received a grant to get high school students involved in the promotion of safe and healthy usage of salad bars. This is a state-wide project that would put youth in the forefront of educating their peers in making healthier choices.This grant was funded from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), Office of Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI), Washington State Department of Health (DOH), and Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

This project became a paid internship where four of our students (from two school districts – Seattle and Highline), agents Matthew, Katt, Adriana, and Emily gathered on a monthly basis to plan their strategies for taking down the evil empire of Darth Junk Food. Over the course of 6 months, these agents created a toolkit that included colorful posters, this unforgettable video, and a fun and interactive game to debrief the video.

To prepare for this project, these agents conducted community-based research surveying their peers on how they interact (or don’t interact) with salad at their school. They also did field studies of their school’s salad bar, observing things like the flow of the lunch line and the use of condiments. They then gathered this information into a list of recommendations that was sent to their districts as feedback. Some of these recommendations included suggestions on changing the location of the salad bar to relieve lunch line traffic, beautifying the salad bar with colorful signage and menus to increase student participation, and replacing ladles with squirt or pump bottles to avoid cross-contamination and food-borne illnesses.

Next, agents came together to create an educational video that would get students excited to use the salad bar, while also giving them tips on how to use the salad bar safely. They generated the storyline, created their characters, and wrote the script. Agent Katt even made her own costume. We spent all afternoon and evening shooting the video at Chief Sealth International High School (for salad and school scenes) and the White Center Community Development Association (for Dr. Eggplant’s office scenes). With the help of mentors Roberto Ascalon, Cristina Orbe, and Meng Yu, as well as our amazing videographer and editor Morgan Dusatko, this short film came together as the final product you see here! Please leave us comments and feedback below!

Because every great cinematic experience deserves a fun activity to follow it – agents created a game to get students to reflect and debrief about what they learned from the movie. This game requires students to assemble an “Antidote” by finding other students that can answer trivia questions about the movie and about healthy food.

In addition to creating the video and activity, agents also added some major steez to salad bar safety and etiquette posters. Agents came up with new statements like “No one likes the line cutter,” “If you touch it you keep it,” and “Just wash your hands – you know why,” with visuals such as a hand with a dirty toilet on it to really drive these messages home. Our graphic designer Luara Moore worked with the agents to implement their ideas into these posters – check them out below!

These promotional materials that agents created advertise to their peers about how to use the salad bar safely while also educating them on the benefits of choosing to eat healthy foods. It is an educational tool that will be utilized in school districts across the state. This means that our agents are helping to implement state-wide change in improving school food and helping their peers make healthier choices!

We hope you enjoyed the film. May the salad force be with you!