FRESH’s youth programs trains the next generation in vital food security skills, teaches critical thinking, encourages hard work, and develops young leaders.
Youth participants help us grow food at our farm site at the Waterford Country School where they learn a broad set of skills including how to grow from seed, how to promote and manage organic soil; how and when to harvest and handle everything that we grow. Crops include lettuces, collard greens, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, watermelon, winter and summer squash, radishes, green beans, peas, several varieties of peppers, including aji dulce, and herbs, such as basil, parsley, cilantro, and dill are all sold and donated throughout our community; youth are involved with every stage, from seed to sale.
To move this Good Food Revolution forward, we need leadership! At FRESH we are committed to giving youth the tools they need to be leaders in making food system change in New London County, CT. To this end, our Youth Programs include opportunities to build and practice leadership and advocacy during public presentations about our work.
Past presentations include the Neighborhood Alliance of New London, the New London Parks Commission and New London City Council. FRESH Youth have presented to local garden clubs and various community groups, including at the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Connecticut Chapter Annual Winter Conference, and at the ‘Bioneers by the Bay-Connecting for Change’ Conference held annually in New Bedford, MA.
Further, FRESH Youth have often acted as mentors and program assistants in our work with children. These instances are excellent opportunities for youth leadership as our crew ‘passes on the gift’ of what they learn and helps us greatly to expand our reach to younger students.
FRESH programs are also designed to address real issues that impact youth. Using popular education techniques, youth and staff discuss political and social issues- such as violence, the media, prisons, racism, schools – that greatly impact our experiences within our community, and world. The goal here is think critically about our food system and our world, envision solutions, and develop practical solutions that we can implement, with our community, to make positive change.
Community Food Security focuses on self- reliance in its insistence on universal access to healthy food.