Why I am a Champion for this Cause
Dear friends and everyone that is passionate about empowering our youth and promoting equal access to healthy food,
For the past four years, I have had the pleasure/honor to be a part of the Youth Farm Project based in Ithaca, N.Y. The Youth Farm has been a place of tremendous growth for me over the years, as I transition into adulthood and explore what a life of teaching, farming, and grassroots activism looks/feels like. In addition, it has been incredible to witness the positive transformations that countless youth farmers have experienced since my first growing season in 2011.
It all began about six years ago at LACS (Lehman Alternative Community School in Ithaca, NY) where I was engaged as an active agent of change to work towards a more sustainable and equitable food system (it started by exchanging labor on local farms for produce for use in our cafeteria). My experiences as a crew leader and assistant farmer at YFP have reinforced my excitement to provide the same compassionate, and engaging mentorship that I cherished as a high school student. To quote Parker Palmer, the Youth Farm is where “my heart’s longing meets the world’s need”.
The program (YFP) brings together a purposefully diverse group of high school aged youth from schools across Tompkins County. As they are taught to run an 8-acre organic vegetable farm, they learn about themselves and each other, crossing neighborhood, socioeconomic, and racial boundaries. While the program teaches sustainable growing methods, one day each week is spent off farm, helping crew members understand the broad array of food justice issues in immediate need of change locally.
It’s clear to me that the combination of hard work on the farm and the immense sense of purpose that comes from improving access to healthy food in the community empowers young people!
I am supporting this particular Peaks initiative, as a next step for the Youth Farm, because it will allow the experience of local youth to become even more tuned to local issues concerning food justice. Through the past five years of growth, YFP has been fortunate to borrow a great deal of farm equipment and in-kind repairs. The purchase of key farm implements (chisel plow, cultivating tractor, plastic layer, farm truck) will not reduce the work that local youth put into the Farm, but will open up new possibilities concerning their involvement in the equitable distribution of this food…. and the ongoing sustainability of the program itself. Although asking for money is hard, the idea of this crowd funding campaign is for lots of people to give a small amount of money (5, 10, 20, or more if you feel comfortable doing so). Your support is greatly appreciated!
For more info on the campaign visit: http://youthfarmproject.peaksmaker.com/?campaign=1463
PS: Please come visit us on a Saturday from 10am-1pm.