The Northeast Regional Youth Food Justice Summit

Youth in the “Sprout-out” led by friends of highline

On May 30, 2015, East New York Farms!/United Community Centers hosted a  Northeast Regional Youth Food Summit and had a great experience with other youth from all over the Northeast Region. The other groups that were involved in the summit were Added Value, BK Farmyards, Community Food Advocates of NYC, The Children’s Aid Society in New York, EcoStation NY, the Rockaway Youth Task Force, Bushwick Campus Youth Food Policy Council, youth from the Groundwork of Hudson Valley & Somerville, High Line Teens, Bronx Works, and youth from Brotherhood Sister Sol. The day started with a breakfast, laughs and energizers led by interns from East New York Farms.  Youth learned West African, West Indian, Latin, and hip hop dances representing the diverse cultures of East New York.

The summit created a shared learning space for youth organizations involved in the food movement through food, environmental, and social justice work. It allowed them to connect with other youth and build strong solidarity bonds towards building a just, equitable and fair food system for all. The youth participated in youth-led workshops, field trips component to local urban farms in NYC and a cooking competition.

The East New York Farms! Project Youth led a hands-on workshop showing the other youth how to build up their own farms and gardens using a trellis system in our own farm on New Lots Ave. Also, the youth from Groundwork Hudson Valley taught about alternative and creative ways to grow food in a big city using hydroponics, a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water without soil. Furthermore, the youth learned about Lunch4Learning’s and EcoStation NY’s fight for universal free school lunch, explored the advocacy process as an extension of food justice, and participated in their selfie campaign and petitions.

 Additionally, the afternoon was quite eventful as the youth helped to make a delicious lunch for everyone. After lunch, the youth visited three farms in the afternoon. The hosts were the Bed-stuy Campaign Against Hunger farm, also known as the Saratoga Urban Agro-Ecological Center. The two other farms that the youth visited were ISO Student Farm in Brownsville and EcoStation NY Bushwick campus Farm. Furthermore, the youth returned to a cooking competition between four groups of youth that were judged by other youth on taste, presentation and creativity. The youth ended the day with a “sprout-out”, in which they were able to give shoutouts to anyone and anything they wanted to about the day.

All in all, it was rewarding that the youth all got to learn about how other youth around the Northeast region address food justice in their communities as a part of a larger movement to build a stronger network of youth food leaders dedicated to establishing a just food system for all! Hence, we are looking forward to our follow-up summit on advocacy this summer and our Fall exchange between the groups. Our goal is not to end the network after this summit but to continue to forge relationships and transform this network into a powerful network of Northeast Regional Youth Food leaders making strides in food justice. 

Summer Workshops and Events

Summer is almost here! Join us for workshops, events, and the return of the farmers market.


ENYF Youth Program Guide Now Available for Download

We are pleased to announce the publication our youth program guide: Growing Young Leaders: Lessons from the East New York Farms! Youth Internship Program by former ENYF project director Sarita Daftary-Steel.  With the support of the Food Dignity project, we have put together this guide to share broader youth development lessons as well as specific curricula, forms, and structures from our program.   The guide is available to download for free here or from the Resources section of our website. We're excited to share this, and please feel free to share the link widely.  We only have a minor request of those who will be using the guide: "We hope that groups will be able to use the information in this guide to create, grow, or modify programs that will positively impact the lives of young people. And we we request that you credit East New York Farms! and the other sources noted whenever you do so. We are very proud of what we've developed together, and we want to make sure that our work is recognized."

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The mission of the East New York Farms Project is to organize youth and adults to address food justice in our community by promoting local sustainable agriculture and community-led economic development.

East New York Farms! is a project of the United Community Centers in partnership with local residents.

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