The East New York Farms! Project along with the Northeast Youth Food Justice Network attended the annual Just Food Conference held on Sunday, March 13th, at Teachers College, Columbia University. The annual Just Food Conference brings together hundreds of community organizers, urban and rural farmers, CSA members, educators, youth and members of the press for a full day of interactive workshops, panel discussions, and good food, focused on building a more equitable food movement.
The conference started out on a very high note as Brooklyn Youth Fellow and ENYF Alumna Peace Titilawo accepted the Mckinley Hightower-Beyah Award on behalf of the planning committee for the Youth Empowerment Summit (Y.E.S. Summit) and the Northeast Youth Food Justice Network. Each year, this award honors New York City youth who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in their community through their involvement in urban agriculture and food justice work. This year, the award recognized all the youth who worked tirelessly throughout 2015 to host two regional gatherings for youth, by youth involved in the food justice movement in and around NYC. These events convened more than one hundred youth to share their skills, experiences and knowledge with each other. Thank you to Just Food and the Hightower-Beyah family for honoring us with this award at the Just Food Conference.
After the award, Senior Field Organizer, Khaleel Anderson gave a Food Talk on his work on food deserts in Queens and with the Rockaway Youth Task Force. Then, the Northeast Youth Food Justice Network hosted two sessions. The first was a panel discussion led by Peace Titilawo on the importance of the network and youth experiences in planning the summits. Also, a Youth Identity Caucus was held to collaborate with all the youth at the conference on upcoming events that will bring youth together to work towards a fairer and equitable food system. We hope to continue to collaborate more and grow as a powerful network of food justice leaders.