What I learned at the Food Project's Winter Institute

I was lucky enough to spend two days last week at the Food Project's Winter Institute with a group of insightful, inspiring food activists from around the country. The Institute showcases the Food Project's work empowering teens to make change through sustainable agriculture.

Since Arcadia is a young organization, I'm grateful I had the opportunity to learn from folks who've been working for food justice for 20 years. I learned a whole lot, but here are some of the most memorable parts:

  • Bridging divides has amazing transformative power. The Food Project brings youth of totally different backgrounds together to work on farms in both urban and rural areas. Arcadia's work connecting small farmers with city dwellers and young people to the source of their food has similar potential.
  • From Eron at Collective Roots in East Palo Alto, CA to Ryan and Kayla at Farm Fresh Rhode Island, the Institute brought together a group of really down-to-earth folks working on similar issues. Although it seemed that we're all often overwhelmed with the injustice we see around us, we are each really passionate about working with young people to help create a more sustainable and fair food system.
  • The Food Project teens are awesome! I was so impressed by their knowledge of the food system, their emotional intelligence and their communication skills. A solid portion of the 2.5 day institute was actually led by the teens themselves, including a stellar set of workshops about food systems.
  • Fun is super important! At the Institute, we learned some of the great games that the Food Project staff uses with their youth teams and I can't wait to play some of them out at Arcadia Farm this year.
If you haven't already, make your way over to the Food Project's toolbox - it's chock full of (free!) useful materials for folks who are working on sustainable agriculture issues and youth empowerment.

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