What does social entrepreneurship mean to 6th and 7th graders? TFFJ students at the Urban Assembly Unison school have an answer to that. Over the past few weeks, they have supported each other’s passion for healthy food and change-driven entrepreneurship—and refuse to be quiet about it.Inspired by leading women in food justice advocacy such as Haile Thomas, Karen Washington, and Tanya Fields, the students set out in late January to plan a food market that would provide freshly grown produce, cooking demonstrations and recipe tastings to the Clinton Hill community. To do so, they branched into three committees: marketing, design, and management.
By flourishing in an environment of collective action, these girls have shown that they are here to engage in STEM concepts like hydroponic farming and become active changemakers in their community. Each day, they are challenging the “leaky pipeline” which experts such as Dr. Patty L. Fagin have described as “when girls start out as strong in math and science as boys, but lose interest along the way.” Perhaps the new pipeline is from farm to Forbes 30 under 30. Partnering with Wellness in the Schools and the American Heart Association, our all-women mentor team guided the girls in crafting a market and community-wide event. It communicated a message of heart health at Family Fitness Fun Night, the school’s bi-annual, festive evening to encourage healthy lifestyles. In addition to being exposed to recipes made with produce grown by TFFJ teens (and the opportunity to purchase these items affordably at the student-run farmers’ market), attendees enjoyed various exercise sessions of yoga, pop pilates, zumba, basketball, and fitness challenges.
Let’s face it, if this is what social entrepreneurship looks like to middle schoolers, then the future leaders of our society will surely consist of confident, justice-oriented and business-minded individuals.