Poison on Our Plate- A RYME/PeopleSkool Report for POOR Magazine

Tiny - Posted on 26 July 2011

The Following RYME Youth Skolar Reports were written by the Youth Skolaz for the Poison on Our Plate Project after their extensive research, We-Search (as we call it at POOR Magazine) and interviews with Eric Mar who proposed a legislation to prevent San Francisco restaurants from including a toy in their meals.


On Air--Kamaria Shanndoah, 14: I am Kamaria Shanndoah and I am 14 years old. “Poison on our plate” taught me about all the pollution and radiation in the San Francisco air. I learned that some of the chemicals in our air are Sulfur Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxides, and Hydrocarbons. I also found out that the radiation in our air has increased in the past 20 years. Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particle matter or biological materials that cause harm to humans or other living organisms. Air pollution can also damage the natural environment, and atmosphere.

“Poison on our plate” also taught me about Eric Mar. Eric Mar was elected in November 2008 to represent District 1, San Francisco's Richmond District. For over two decades Eric has been a dedicated and responsive advocate for working families, youth and seniors, small businesses and all the diverse residents of the Richmond District and San Francisco. Eric Mar is a legislator. On Tuesday, July 19, 2011, I got the opportunity to ask Eric Mar questions about his legislation. Eric says that if the fast food industry would change their menus to have healthier options then he wouldn’t have made an effort to have the toys removed. Eric says he feels that that fast food places use toys to lure children into eating fast food and that toys are only the problem when they are used to make children eat unhealthy foods.

In conclusion I would like to say that poison on our plate taught me important facts about our food, air and water, I also got the opportunity to meet Eric Mar and ask him questions. It is important for the youth to know the facts about the food they are eating. “Poison on our plate” taught me a lot about different toxins that are in our food. I feel that more schools and programs should teach us about the food we consume every day.

On Air-- Ya’mil Chambers,12:  In the ‘poison on our plate’ project we learned about the sources of air pollution. Some of these are tobacco, cars, and acid rain. Combustion of coal is also a source of air pollution. Coal combustion is the burning of coal in a power plant for electricity. Coal is also used in powering trains. I am Yamil Chambers and as a 12 year old, I am concerned about coal combustion, which causes air pollution. Every day an average adult consumes a total of 3,000 gallons of polluted air. This represents that simple coal combustion causes health problems. This means that we don’t care about what goes into our air. This also means that if we care about our lives, if we don’t pull it together, many will succumb to health problems because of the pollution in our air.

On July 19th I went to city hall to meet with Eric Mar. Eric Mar is a San Francisco city supervisor and I asked him “Do you think fast food places just put the toys in to provoke children to get the meals?” And he replied that McDonald's and Burger King just use the toys to lure children into pestering their parents to get the unhealthy foods for them for the toy. I learned that food can taste good but they can be a threat to your body’s digestive system

On Food--Tatyana East, 15: My name is Tatyana East and I am 15 years old. I am currently associating with POOR News network. In the “poison on our plate” project, we learned how many teaspoons of sugar are in a can of Coca cola. My fellow poverty scholars and I also went on a field trip to Burger King and McDonalds. We interviewed children, a boy and a girl, who were hooked on the fast food. We asked if they knew about how bad McDonalds food was, and they said, “hey, I know how bad it is".  But they liked it so much that they eat there pretty often. We also learned that at Burger King, when they don’t use the burger patties that they make that day, are put in the freezer. We learned that the beef burger patties are made of different parts of the cow, and that they mush all that junk together to make their patties.

Me and my colleagues from POOR magazine were doing research on Eric Mar who is a supervisor of the Richmond district and his legislation on banning kids meal toys out of restaurants in San Francisco. We asked him questions on the situation and he responded, ”the fast food restaurants use the toys to taunt the children to buy the fast food” He also said that his daughter was a big part of his motivation and drive to end the issue of children’s obesity. And he talked about the food dessert. What I learned from Eric mar was that his whole reason for legislation was to keep children healthy and away from obesity. And making sure that each fast food restaurant had a health chart showing how many calories were in the food.


ON FOOD--Rashida Talibah Banks Reed,12: At Poor magazine, we did a project called “poison on the plate.” We learned about how many calories are in a whopper and how much sugar is in a Coca-Cola can. It's so much I can hardly say. It’s too much for humans to consume. Then we went to city hall and we interviewed Eric Mar. He was amazing. The Poverty and youth scholars and I asked a whole bunch of good questions. I asked “what was your motivation to take the toys out the happy meals?” 1: I got some quotes from him too. he said they called it the toy ban. 2: He wanted to remove the toys from unhealthy meals to fight obesity. 3: He said we should go to the produce market. I learned a lot of stuff about food and other things I told you every thing in ma intro. Every thing was important. I really enjoyed it. As you can see everything we do here is FUN!


ON FOOD--Rukiyah Mayfield, 12: My name is RUKIYAH MAYFIELD and I am 12 years old. I am from POOR News Network. In the “poison on our plate” project I learned that a woman should only have 5 teaspoons (20 grams) of sugar per day, and a man should only have 9 teaspoons (36 grams). lastly, little children should have no more than 3 teaspoons (12 grams) a day. I also learned that we as society have too much sugar. When I went to City Hall I met Eric Mar, and we talked about the legislation that Eric Mar proposed. His legislation was not allowing restaurants to give a toy with their food. Also we all asked Eric Mar questions, but I asked what will he do if people start to protest for the McDonalds toy ban and he said he will encourage it because that’s how you make change. After this project, I realized that as a young woman of color my idea is that I should eat healthy every Monday and Tuesday to help me stay strong.

...has been deleting comments that don't conform to their editorial position. No big surprise.

This is amazing work-letting the youth lead their learning but rooted in real world and urgent topics. I work with Rock Paper Scissors Collective in Oakland (2278 Telegraph Ave) and am the Community Collaborations Director and am planning a Food Justice/Harvest show for October and would love to invite your youth and partners to participate in the show. If you are interested please email me at: katherin@rpscollective.org.

Thanks for the work you are doing!

Magazine. Wonderful coverage by the youth!


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