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Fresh Grown: Student Hip-hop Video for Kids Says Eating Fruits, Veggies Is Cool

Written by University of Alabama at Birmingham on 03 June 2010.

“The Jefferson County Childhood Obesity Task Force (JCCOTF) wanted to put together a social marketing project that would have kids teaching With a funky beat and catchy lyrics, a hip-hop public service announcement video created by University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) senior film student Anna Lloyd, 22, of Fairhope, is hitting the Internet with a message to kids: Eating healthy is cool.

The 60-second video “Fresh Grown,” online at www.uab.edu/dcs, features five local kids rapping and dancing at a local grocery store and at the Pepper Place Farmers’ Market in Birmingham. The children, surrounded by rows of carrots, tomatoes, strawberries and other produce, sing the lyrics “I like fresh grown fruits and vegetables.”

“The Jefferson County Childhood Obesity Task Force (JCCOTF) wanted to put together a social marketing project that would have kids teaching kids how to be healthy,” said Bree Garrett, a member of JCCOTF and the community nutrition coordinator for Jones Valley Urban Farm, a community-based nonprofit organization that grows organic produce and flowers on a three-acre vacant lot in downtown Birmingham.

So Garrett contacted Michele Forman, M.A., director of UAB Digital Community Studies, who recruited Lloyd for the project. For her research, Lloyd surveyed fourth-graders at Phillips Academy in downtown Birmingham to get the students’ opinions about nutrition, music and their favorite websites and television shows.

“I realized that the kids already knew what they should be eating, but they said it just wasn’t cool to eat healthy,” Lloyd said. “So, I wanted a video that would make healthy foods cool, and that’s where the idea for a hip-hop video came from.”

For the video, Lloyd enlisted the help of Winston Strickland, artistic director of the M.A.D. Skillz Dance Co. in Birmingham, who auditioned and selected dancers for the video. UAB senior Joel Brown, 25, of Dothan, a music technology student, wrote the rap lyrics, with suggestions from Lloyd, and recorded and mixed the song in UAB’s music technology laboratory.

“I've been involved in many projects similar to this one, but this is the first time I’ve ever recorded and produced a song for a commercial,” said Brown. “When asked to do this project, I was thrilled to be part of such a positive influence on today’s students. On the other hand, I wondered how I would write a hip-hop song about vegetables. But the kids from M.A.D. Skillz were a lot of fun to work with, and I think they did an amazing job.”

The video took almost the entire spring semester to complete, Lloyd said.

“I’m really happy with the video,” Lloyd said, “and I’m really proud of all of the people who put in the time to make this happen. The video focuses on nutrition, but it makes healthy eating look cool, and I hope that kids will see it and that it makes them think the same way about what to eat and what they want their parents to buy.”

About the UAB College of Arts and Sciences
UAB Digital Community Studies is housed in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences, home to academic disciplines that include the arts, humanities, sciences and the School of Education. The college’s unique structure advances research and learning in both K-12 and higher education, and its courses are taught by a world-class faculty. Committed to the UAB spirit of independence and innovation, the college enables students to design their own majors, participate in undergraduate research or complete graduate degrees on a five-year fast track. Through productive partnerships, flexible curricula and a bold, interdisciplinary approach to learning and teaching, the college is preparing students for success in the ever-changing global marketplace of commerce and ideas.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a separate, independent institution from the University of Alabama, which is located in Tuscaloosa. Please use University of Alabama at Birmingham on first reference and UAB on all consecutive references.

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