Saturday, May 16th, 2015 was our first annual Food Justice Service & Advocacy Summit, an empowering volunteer opportunity organized in partnership with the Resilience Advocacy Project, graciously hosted by the Bushwick Hylan Community Center of Grand Street Settlement, and made possible through the generous support of Macy’s.
50 high school students from throughout the five boroughs of NYC came together learn and serve together, working to make their mark on one of today’s most pressing issues: food justice.
At this summit, teens…
- Learned from nonprofit professionals and trained youth food justice advocates how to create lasting solutions to food justice and sustainability issues faced by at-risk residents of NYC.
- Engaged in fun, high-impact service projects that support the important work of local environmental and food justice organizations. Projects will include work at local community gardens, harvesting crops at the TFFJ hydroponic farm, muraling, and providing essential help to local food pantries.
- Gained usable information, strategies, and tools that will help you advocate for food equity, improved health, and sustainability in your own community.
We believe one of the most powerful sources of positive social change is the collective work of knowledgeable and inspired young people. Our youth are the next generation of social change activists and leaders, and our city, our local food system and our environment need their voices to be heard.
Like many neighborhoods in this city, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Bushwick are “food deserts,” areas where bodegas and fast food restaurants serving processed, pre-packaged foods greatly outnumber supermarkets and other vendors of fresh fruits and vegetables that are essential to a healthy diet. In these central Brooklyn communities, 90% of residents do not eat the recommended daily amount of fruits & vegetables, and rates of obesity and obesity-related illnesses far exceed the NYC average. With 33% of residents living below the poverty line (and 48% of children), many families live with the daily challenge of food insecurity.
Bed-Stuy is the home of the Teens for Food Justice classroom farm and its teen-led hydroponic farming and community health and nutrition outreach program. Your service at the Youth Service & Advocacy Summit and the leadership skills teens will gained through their participation in the summit gave them the tools to be an effective advocate for change in other at-risk NYC communities.