The Food Project: Youth. Food. Community.

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Rooted in Community Conference 2014

By Julia F., 17, North Hamilton, North Shore Root Crew

Root Crew member Julia
Root Crew member Julia
In mid July, I had the opportunity to represent The Food Project at the Rooted in Community conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This experience was life changing for me. The conference was based around food justice and issues with our food system globally. Youth programs from all across the country came to participate in this conference; there were people from Florida, North Carolina, Washington, Maine, Texas, California and more. At the conference, there were a variety of youth led workshops that revolved around food justice along with field trips out into the community. These field trips allowed the youth to experience the different culture of the area, as well as the different farming techniques. It was eye opening to see farming in such a different climate and terrain.

I personally led a workshop called "Food for Thought" with the help of my supervisor Chloe Zelkha. This is a three-part workshop that covers the different food systems, the workers in our food systems, and what is really in our food. The Food Project has put together this workshop to educate other organizations and local community members. It is a workshop that I have given many times. I felt that the people who attended my workshop had a deep love for food justice and it was meaningful to present to a group interested in the knowledge that I was presenting. I love to educate on these topics to people of all different backgrounds in food justice.

My favorite part of my trip to New Mexico was the rally that we participated in for the Coalition of Immokalee workers (CIW). We were protesting peacefully for a penny more per pound for tomato growers in Immokalee Florida. In our rally, we focused on the large corporations' involvement. It was incredible to see so many individuals who so strongly believe in this cause.

Participating in this conference was rewarding in a lot of ways. I knew that there were a lot of other organizations that worked in food justice similar to The Food Project, but seeing them first-hand and talking to the youth and adults in the programs was really motivating to me as a person and as a member of the Food Project. It felt that having so many like-minded voices coming together could really make a change. It showed me that the work that The Food Project does locally could grow into a movement, when groups join in thought and ideas. This gave me the insight into how things can be changed globally, if we all stand together.

This opportunity to work with other programs from across the country and brainstorm global ideas is something everyone should be able to have a chance to experience and I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to explore a broader view on food justice from a wide range of people and see what it looks like for a group of motivated youth and adults to come together to share there ideas and knowledge.

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