School’s out—but the high school students and recent grads of New York 2 New Orleans Coalition (NY2NO)—a youth-led organization—won’t be relaxing. They’ll be leading 7 brigades of their peers through Food Justice Summer Part II—a service learning program that takes teens to urban farms and community organizations in New York and New Orleans.
- You learn more when you’re engaging in something… by learning how to grow food on a farm, you also learn about the system and different approaches to changing it.
—Katelyn Montalvo, 17, organizer
NY2NO’s work to engage others in learning about food relative to social, racial and economic injustices is both inspiring and relevant. Just consider this:
- By 2023, a majority of Americans younger than 18 will be of color while the majority of retiring baby boomers will be white.
- In 2007-08, about 12.5 million (17%) of youth ages 2-19 were obese—of which 38% were from low-income families.
- Nearly 60% of low-income youth are of color (Latino, black, or Asian).
These realities have important policy implications. According to USC demographer Dowell Myers, our nation’s dependence on an increasingly diverse workforce means we can’t afford underinvestment in “someone else’s children”. Healthy low-income communities and communities of color are vital to America’s economy.