As a group of Latinas that connect to their culture and roots through food, we created a platform on Tiktok and Instagram where others who want to incorporate vegetarian/vegan options in their lives can. More importantly, we showed how easy it is to purchase these alternatives. A main reason people are discouraged by this lifestyle is the misconception that it is not meant for disadvantaged urban communities. This project not only encouraged cheap and healthy eating, but it ultimately was a way to help our environment. A major source of methane emissions is due to meat production. By educating people on making vegetarian/vegan cultural recipes that can be incorporated into their diets, they will also be able to make a difference in their own carbon footprint.
The problem our team wants to tackle is making beloved traditional Hispanic dishes healthier via vegetarian and vegan means and make these meals affordable enough for all community members. Through research, it was found that ⅓ of harmful emissions in our atmosphere are produced by meat production (nature.com) and meat consumption can increase risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain caners. In the South Bay, 10.4% of adults have diabetes, 26.5% of adults have high blood cholesterol, 37.2% of adults are overweight, and 24.1% are obese (Public Health LA). By reducing meat consumption, these dangers can be reduced, if not eliminated. Our team plans to show how our community can achieve this by using the common supermarkets and resources that we have, so that the food is simple for everyone to make with easily accessed ingredients for everyone. In order to show how it can be more accessible for everyone, we plan to make videos where we talk about how we make our dishes, and the expense of it. In addition we also want to show how meat can be replaced with something just as delicious.
How is this need aligned with your impact area? Living in an impacted urban city, it is hard to have access to fresh products. Many of the times the stores or market places where one can find good quality vegetables or fruits are sold at a higher price. For most of the time in order to pay for fresh produce, you have to spend more money or go somewhere farther away. Because of these kinds of restrictions it makes it hard to live a healthy and balanced life. Thus only 14.8% of adults consume five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily in the South Bay (Public Health). This adds another obstacle to health issues that our culture already suffers from. Some examples include blood sugar, high cholesterol and diabetes. In order to help our community live a healthier and well balanced life we plan to use the space and resources we have to create dishes and make things more accessible for everyone.
Every week the team met up on Monday's to debrief the tasks that were completed and those that needed to be completed that week. The Project Manager created a master schedule that had due dates for the chefs, editors, content writers, and social media to meet.
Our goal was to post twice a week on Monday's and have the next videos filmed and completed by the end of the week. To keep frequent communication, we created a group chat with the team in which we reminded people of their tasks and easily sent any media to.
Project Events: Our events were the episodes themselves so every week was the same schedule of meeting deadlines and making sure the assigned chef was meeting those deadlines in order for everyone else to do their part in the episodes. The majority of the work came from production. We had 4 chefs, 2 editors, 2 content writers, and 1 narrator. It was essential for us to work together to create these episodes (or events). We were able to upload 10 episodes which is a total of 10 events (you can check those out in the Athenaia's Antojitos tab)! It was all thanks to the hard work of production and everyone that was behind-the-scenes.
Civic Engagement Efforts
Our project itself was created to connect to the community outside of our school. Social media, like TikTok, allowed for people all over the world to have access to our project. Our recipes that represent our culture and service others’ health were shown to hundreds, even thousands, of different people that are outside of the Lennox Academy community.
Short Term: We were able to reach over 3,000 people on TikTok through the recipes’ views, likes, and comments. We were able to reach over 100 people on Instagram. And reached the interest of over 30 students at our school by giving them samples of our recipes. Long term: We hope that this project can be of outreach for making healthier choices in dishes within not just our Hispanic community, but be able to have others try this new avenue. From our experience, we will further continue this, not just for a project but be able to apply it more to our lifestyle and be able to create a healthier change. In dishes, we can find alternatives to ingredients that can help lessen the production of meat. We should be able to take into account that the traditional ingredients used at home that can bring us the flavors we love may not always bring us the best results in our diet. This is where we come into action and try to switch things around. We can all still enjoy the same flavors, but healthier options that are being provided to us can help impact our community in the long run. By using our recipes and reducing meat consumption, there will be a major long-term global impact of climate change. Methane emissions will reduce if meat consumption is reduced and, in turn, slow the rate of climate change.
Quantitative Data: Number of students who have attended programs
Number of events
10 episodes/ events
LMSTA, GBLA, LA Promise Fund, Superior, Northgate, ALDI, Vallarta
Mentors or supporters engaged
Surveys measuring student responses
Quotes from participants (From TikTok and Instagram comments):
“I love watching your videos!!”
“Omg so excited for this!!!”
Creating a cooking show proved to be a difficult but worthy challenge. The effort that was needed to create every episode was the most surprising. Our communication as a team had to be a priority, and there was no room to have someone do a task on their own. It was a team effort and this brought all the girls closer together. We were all able to connect to our culture and learn more about our cuisine as we prepared every recipe. We are that much more grateful for our Hispanic roots. Ultimately, the project was everything we could've asked for. One thing we wish we could have done was creating a master episode where we all came together to do a long video on a tamales recipe. Unfortunately, we were not able to do this because some of our team members got sick. Additionally, technological difficulties prevented us from being able to upload certain episodes. If we were to do this again, we would have invested in a device that everyone has access to and that has enough storage for videos to be filmed on.