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Developing Leadership at TFP and Beyond

Kenny (top, left) as an Assistant Crew Leader
Kenny (top, left) as an Assistant Crew Leader
The following blog was written by Food Project intern Kenny Lopez. Kenny is 18 years old and lives in Boston, Mass. He participated in The Food Project's Summer Youth Program in 2010. He participated in the Academic Year Program in 2010-11; worked as a summer intern in 2011; and served as an assistant crew leader both for the Academic Year Program in 2011-12 and for the Summer Youth Program in 2012. Currently, Kenny is an academic year intern. 


My name is Kenny Lopez. I am 18 years old and I currently live in Boston. I have been working here at The Food Project since summer of 2010.

Throughout my journey here at The Food Project, I have met some amazing people that have and are still changing my life. Before The Food Project I struggled with my confidence and even my capabilities as a person. Being here has helped me realize that as a youth I am capable of change, and now I feel confidence in myself.

Before The Food Project, I must admit that I was a very ignorant person who chose to ignore all of the problems we face pertaining to food justice and social justice. TFP has helped me to be open-minded, and actually forced me to go out of my comfort zone (in a positive way). I am now able to talk to friends and family in a way I that I was never able to before. I feel comfortable with myself and who I am because of TFP.

As president of the National Honor Society (NHS) at my high school, I have taken the skills I gained throughout TFP and applied them to my society. I started a new program with NHS called "NHS Buddy." The purpose of the program is to be a mentor to the freshmen class. Each NHS scholar is assigned a group of freshmen, creates a space where the freshmen feel welcomed, and helps them academically and socially.

The Food Project has also helped me to discover my passion for agriculture. I will be attending Hamilton College this fall, and I recently found out that they have a farm on campus. My goal by senior year is to run the farm and to spread the knowledge of healthy food. Hopefully, one day I'll be a farmer.

I also enjoy writing poetry and as an active member of the poetry club at my school, a lot of what I write is related to social justice. Here is one of my poems I will be performing at my schools next open mic night this spring!

Oppressed because of a color

They judge based on my skin, rather than from whats within
They created a system so that I can fail
Statistically expecting that I'll end up in jail
They made me cautious
They made me fear
They made me insecure
They made minorities to be inferior
Screw this system
They don’t expect me to be successful
They should be careful
They failed at creating me
& now I am a mad man loose
Because the system is a hidden truth
I'll fight for justice and equality
Til' the day I die
Now they know why

-Ken Lopez

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