FOOD FIGHT – Hip Hop Curriculum For The Next Generation of Policymakers

In a country where the greatest political hope for change comes in the form of voting for a president who appoints employees and friends of Monsanto to the FDA and USDA, trying to sway policymakers might seem like a lost cause.

Before you lose all hope, take another look – the policymakers who can change our system may not be in power currently, but they are incubating now, in our schools.  With your help, with tools like FOOD FIGHT, they can be the first generation to make Monsanto a household name, and begin the food system’s transformation.

We designed a FOOD FIGHT school curriculum, to teach young adults about the world of industrial agriculture — what it’s doing to their bodies, their neighborhoods, and their planet — and put the video at the heart of it. Music and comedy, for some neurological reason, connect with more kids than lectures and books do, so it made sense to marry the message with those elements, giving the teachers a tool more powerful than their time or budgets allow.

Teaching Tool

While our budget for social media was low, it still managed to make the front page of YouTube, and took “the food world by storm,” as one writer put it. The response was overwhelming. We received 100,000 views in the first week, with 99% of reviewers marking “Like”, and literally over 95% comments being not only positive, but detailed, engaging and intelligent. Usually a great video will get about 70% positive comments, and the rest are by trollers, so I am still blown away by ratio of positive reviews we got on this one.

Almost a year later, we get email from people telling us how much the video meant to them.  Someone wrote us saying they were going to shut down their small organic farm, but that this piece gave them hope to continue.

“From a fellow food fighter, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!! This is hands-down, the BEST musical message I have EVER seen! We need more of these. I have been spreading the word about this video – very WELL DONE!!!!! I am always looking for more ways to contribute to the mission and help educate the masses about the importance of eating whole, non-GMO, unprocessed foods, so this is right up my alley!!” – Teresa Robinson

“The best part of this whole movement is that the song/video IS just a PR stunt for what is a deeply important campaign to improve health, promote sustainable agriculture, and create green jobs. So this lyrical public broadcast announcement was just a 3 minute intro into SUPPORTING HEALTH IN LOW-INCOME COMMUNITIES? Now that’s edutainment, and excellent use of music, film, curriculum and social media to bring the issues and practical solutions to life.” - UK writer, Pro Blaque

As far as the blogosphere goes, check out articles by:
Who Is Paradise

One blogger wrote that the video is “Absolutely the best piece of socially relevant media…in years.” A mainstream hip hop blog wrote,
“I’m telling you this is the best HipHop video I’ve seen in a while…”

It was also one of the few selected for the 3rd Annual SF Green Film Festival. Plastic State of Mind was the opening film of the festival’s debut in 2011.

It is currently part of at least 20 curricula in high schools and juvenile offender programs around the world. With an incoming grant, we will be able to present the video and curriculum to more teachers who can use it to educate the policymakers of the future.

South Africa School Screening On Biodiversity Day

Here’s a review we like.

…this is the first, poignant, and most entertaining attempt I’ve seen to bring this idea to the minds of students. Additionally, by using the setting of “the hood,” Zolno makes a strong statement toward the truth: poor health, obesity, and rampant availability of junk food are most-often found in areas of low socio-economic status and the dangers of processed food are just as real as gangs, drugs, and violence. It’s time to make major changes, and who more empowered to do it than the next generation?


AshEl “Seasunz” Eldrige approached me after his work on Plastic State of Mind and asked me to make a video with a track he produced with Stic Man, of legendary hip hop group Dead Prez. Eco music has some of the same problems that Christian Rock does — people have their heart in the right place, but those with the real talent and skill aren’t usually the ones singing out for the cause. But this dude’s tracks were tight. So I got on board.

2 Responses to FOOD FIGHT – Hip Hop Curriculum For The Next Generation of Policymakers

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