UDC will host a summit on food justice for youth. (Courtesy of Bread for the World)
UDC will host a summit on food justice for youth. (Courtesy of Bread for the World)

The University of the District of Columbia’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES), in collaboration with Capital City Public Charter School, will host its fifth annual Food Justice Youth Summit this week.

The event, scheduled for 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday at the Student Center at 4200 Connecticut Avenue NW, provides an opportunity for D.C. youth to share their research, ideas and recommendations on food justice issues as they work with other youth and food justice activists to build a citywide movement for sustainable food systems, officials said in a news release.

The summit also aims to connect the dots between local and global struggles and move together toward a more fair and sustainable food system.

The event will include youth-led workshops focusing on issues of food justice and topics are expected to feature food sourcing, food policy and laws, food production, food waste and composting, school lunches and food access.

Millions of individuals in low-income neighborhoods across the nation experience food insecurity, or the availability of fresh, healthy and culturally appropriate food, according to experts.

Zoe Hollomon, a Green For All Academy Fellow Candidate, wrote that most people don’t understand how Food Justice and Food Security relate to Social Justice and Environmental Justice.

For a Green For All blog, Hollomon related the story of Kimmy, a single mom living in extreme poverty with her three small children on the west side of Buffalo.

She works two jobs just to pay for the basics and to keep her family afloat.

“Every day after school, her three children play outside until she gets home,” Hollomon said. “She quickly cooks dinner for them and the next-door neighbor’s two kids in exchange for her kids’ evening care while she goes to her night job.

“Each week she tries to go to the grocery store but must take two buses and her small children with her as well as a small cart for her groceries,” Hollomon said. “The trip usually takes about four hours and she can only get what she can carry in her cart.”

Most weeks, because of Kimmy’s busy work schedule, she must get food from the corner store, which is mainly mac ‘n’ cheese, microwave dinners, packaged noodles or canned foods. Otherwise her choices are one of the five fast-food restaurants in her neighborhood.

“She knows the options aren’t good but they allow her to get by, given her hectic schedule,” Hollomon added. “Her kids usually come home from school hungry and go to the corner store for chips and soda since they are cheap and readily available.”

She said the story is one of millions of people in low-income neighborhoods across the nation.

“It is however, a fact of life and a major health and economic issue for many Americans living in low-income communities,” she said.

For Friday’s Food Justice Summit, officials said there are several ways to participate:

• Bring your students to be audience members during the youth-led workshops focusing on food justice issues.

• If your students are researching a food justice issue for their science fair project, encourage them to lead a workshop during the summit.

• Does your school have an extracurricular club related to food justice? Encourage them to engage in a project that ends in presenting at the summit.

• If your students are researching a food justice issue for their National History Day project, encourage them to lead a workshop during the summit.

• Are you planning an extension activity? Plan a research project around a food justice issue and encourage your students to lead a workshop during the summit.

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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