Youth and Students - 2017


Ever feel like your organization is the only youth or student group that is focused on food justice & farming?!  Actually, youth organizing is a crucial part of changing our food system, and youth are leading creative solutions all over our region. Join us to meet peers from throughout the region, raise your voice on the issues impacting youth in your area, and shape our food systems future.


Please note all youth under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and submit a waiver form signed by a parent or guardian. In addition, any organizations bringing youth must fill out and sign a release form.

Download Minor Waiver Form
Download Youth Organization Release Form

YOUTH ADVOCACY DAY Thursday Pre-Conference

The event will include educational activities around food justice, advocacy, and farm bill legislation; leadership training and confidence building activities focused around specific legislation; and an afternoon on Capitol Hill meeting with congressmen and/or staffers that deal with food systems and agriculture.  We will conclude with a debrief before heading back to Baltimore to join in on Thursday evening's pre-conference activities.

All costs for this event are covered, but we are limiting participants to just 20 youth to optimize the experience for those in attendance.  Thus each participating organization can only bring a maximum of 4 youth.

To apply for your youth to participate, we would like to know:

  • How many youth you would like to bring (up to 4);
  • Where your organization is located (and which cities your youth participants will be coming from);
  • The age range of your youth participants (limited to ages 14-25);
  • A contact person who will chaperone and take the lead in ensuring that your youth get to and from the event venue. For groups bringing youth under 18, we would like at least one chaperone to stay with their group.
  • And finally, although it is not a requirement that your youth are engaged in policy work, we would like to know how your youth participants have engaged in policy prior to this opportunity to help us formulate discussions and the program for the day.

All of the above questions are in this online form and the deadline to complete the form is Friday, October 20.  

If you have questions about this opportunity, please call Rebekah at (716) 359-3082 or email

This event takes place on Thursday, November 9 from 9am to 5pm in DC (not including travel time). Participants will meet at the United Methodist Building, 100 Maryland Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002 or travel from Baltimore together. Roundtrip train fare from Baltimore to DC day-of and lunch are included for all youth applicants. The pre-session organizers will be in touch with more details after your application has been accepted.

Presenters: Jessy Gill, World Farmers; Immaculate Nyaigoti, World Farmers; Rebekah Williams, Massachusetts Avenue Project

Youth Track Sessions Friday and Saturday

Youth and Students are invited to attend all events at the conference. In addition, check out the Youth Track developed by and for youth. Youth Track sessions include the following:

Block A: Friday, 10:00 - 11:15am

YOUTH TRACK OPENING SESSION: Youth Empowerment v.s. Youth Leadership - Peer to peer exchange — International
Youth leadership is one of the many vital characteristics of non-profit organizations in the food justice movement. Youth empowering each other and leading one another to a better future is encourage continuously throughout these youth programs. This workshop provides youth with the space to facilitate a peer-to-peer exchange and ways in which they can improve upon youth leadership and youth empowerment in the work that they do.

Presenters: Youth Food Justice Network

Block B: Friday, 11:30am - 12:15pm

The Next Generation versus Climate Change — Caswell Suite
My name is Ingabire. I am a junior in high school. My workshop is about the effect the food system has on climate change and the way youth can contribute towards making changes to slow down climate change. We are also going to learn the difference between climate change and climate justice. Through various activities we will interact with each other, have opportunities to learn from each other, and share our ideas. We will also hear from speakers on their perspectives about how climate change is affected by our food systems, and the power of the youth voice.

Presenters: Ingabire Adam & Lucy Handman, Massachusetts Avenue Project

Youth/Adult Collaboration to Create a Healthier School – Royal Conference Foyer
High school entrepreneurs working with Rebel Ventures, a youth-run nonprofit food business in Philadelphia, will lead participants through an experiential workshop to create a healthier school. Rebel Ventures is a youth-powered social enterprise with a mission to create healthy deliciousness with kids (and adult allies) in our community. Our main product, Rebel Crumbles, is a whole-grain fruit filled breakfast cake that is served in all Philadelphia public schools. In our workshop we will guide participants through the same problem-solving method we use to design products. We will split into groups and compete to design and pitch a product or service to create a healthier school.

Presenters: Jarrett Stein, Rebel Ventures; Tre'Cia Gibson, Rebel Ventures; Zaire White, Rebel Ventures; Kevin Dixon, Rebel Ventures

Block C: Friday, 3:00 - 4:15pm

Advocating for Food Waste Reduction on College Campuses – Caswell Suite
The session will begin with a brief introduction of food waste and its effects on a sustainable and just farm and food system. We will be stressing the importance of creating an effective and engaging campaign, by sharing an annual anti-food waste campaign that Real Food Hopkins conducts at the Johns Hopkins dining hall. We will share our results from past years, successes, challenges and overall tips in promoting this cause at a college setting. Following this presentation, our participants will break up into small groups. Each group will have roughly 30 minutes to brainstorm, plan and create an anti-food waste campaign pitch or proposal. Then, they will each have about 3-5 minutes to present, depending on the number of groups. The session will wrap up with a 5-minute discussion on final thoughts and questions. 

Presenters: Ivory Loh, Johns Hopkins University; Emma Zeng, Johns Hopkins University; Clarissa Chen, Johns Hopkins University; Divya Korada, Johns Hopkins University

A People's Hxstory of the Food System – International
This workshop explores personal connections to food, the history of our food system, advocating for food sovereignty, and building the grassroots. We will explore the intersections of labor, gender, environmental, racial, and economic justice in food justice through an interactive timeline. Presenters will also share their work as growers and community organizers at VietLead’s community farm, Resilient Roots, in Camden, NJ and building a community school garden at Furness high school in South Philadelphia which is in partnership with Cambodian Americans of Greater Philadelphia (CAGP) and Bhutanese American Organization of Philadelphia (BAO-P). 

Presenters: VietLead; Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia; Bhutanese Organization of Philadelphia

Youth Networking Sessions: Friday, 4:30PM-5:30PM — International
Join with youth leaders and advocates to debrief the conference, share challenges and victories, and learn more about the work in our region.

Block D: Saturday, 8:00 - 9:15am – Equity and Racial Justice Block

If You're not at the Table, You are on the Menu: Young Minorities Leaders as Stakeholders in Food and Agriculture – Royal Conference Foyer
Youth and minorities are consistently less represented and involved as agriculture and food stakeholders. Although many frameworks exist to address inequality in the food and agriculture sector to better engage minorities, women and people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, age is stills a limiting factor for youth to engage within their food system. Nevertheless, this workshop will explore how the intersectionality of individuals presents them with challenges and opportunities to engage in the food system.

Presenters: Vanessa Garcia Polanco, Rhode Island Food Policy Council

Block E: Saturday, 10:00 - 11:15am

Youth Exposing Food Apartheid in the Black Community – Hanover A
We are the Urban Garden Apprentices of the Sankofa Village Community Garden in Pittsburgh, PA (aka Steel City). After the decline of industrial manufacturing, communities began to deteriorate from the lack of jobs and available resources, and food apartheid policies only made things worse. Our agricultural interventions seek to develop a sustainable, healthy, food system through an inclusive focus on agricultural heritage and a recognition of systemic inequality while simultaneously improving employment opportunities, entrepreneurship skills, and health education. We will explain how food apartheid impacts our neighborhoods and our efforts to educate ourselves and fight for change.

Presenters: Ayanna Nugzi, Sankofa Village Community Garden; Tatyona Patterson, Sankofa Village Community Garden; Jameel Butler, Sankofa Village Community Garden

Designing for Food Equity – Royal Conference Foyer
How might we design a sustainable model for addressing food deserts through greater access to food education? Learn how you can connect an art & design background into addressing food and racial equity. Kinetic Kitchen is a mobile food education program based in Baltimore City that focuses on providing cooking skills and information about healthy food choices. 

Presenters: Valeria Fuentes, Kinetic Kitchen