November 22 was only the second Service Day for this year’s volunteer team, but the teens are already well on their way to becoming knowledgeable advocates for food justice. The day of leadership training begins with a workshop led by two graduate students from the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College. They share with the team important lessons about nutrition and how it relates to local, sustainable food sources. Immersed in various group activities, the teen volunteers and mentors work together to brainstorm and discuss how barriers to eating healthy, local food can be overcome, and how families can make nutritionally sound meal choices even on a tight budget.
PSAs for Food Equity
In the afternoon, things in the classroom farm start to heat up as the team gets to work creating their own PSAs about why food justice is important to our at-risk communities. With the help of a little creativity and teamwork, each group is able to hone their skills in communicating the importance of skipping Popeyes or McDonalds and choosing healthy, fresh food for better long-term health and wellbeing. To top off their training, the volunteer team starts to think about how to engage their friends and family in fundraisers to support the volunteer work they do with Teens for Food Justice. The training and skills that teen volunteers develop here make up the first important step in their year-long journey to help the New Beginnings community make sustainable and health-conscious food choices that will impact the whole neighborhood of Bed-Stuy.