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Written by Slow Food USA’s PR & Marketing Manager, Emily Walsh

As part of a new monthly series here on the blog–“Food and Farming Spotlight”–we will be speaking with Slow Food leaders and members, and food movement personalities alike. This month, we sat down with Gabrielle (Gigi) Di Bernardo.

In a world where fast food chains spend $300 million on youth-targeted marketing per year and where for the first time since the early 1800’s, youth are expected to live shorter lives than their parents, it is hard to not feel like the next generation is powerless to defend itself. Despite the challenges though, more young people every day are taking a stand to improve food and farming.

The unbelievably articulate Birke Baehr from the East Coast immediately comes to mind and how the 11-year-old’s wise-beyond-his-years food production commentary earned him a speaking spot on a TEDx event. Or 12-year-old Mason Harvey from Oklahoma, who after being bullied for years, convinced his family to start eating well and exercising. He lost 85 pounds and is not only feeling better, but is happier at school. And most recently, there was 9-year-old Martha Payne from Western Scotland, who spurred quite the media frenzy. Shortly after she began posting pictures of the unappealing, non-nutritious lunches being served to her at school, her blog was shut down by local officials. However with the public outcry that ensued from food personalities such as Jamie Oliver, it was not long before the ban was lifted.

But how about the young people making moves in our own, Slow Food community? I would like you to meet 10-year-old Gabrielle (Gigi) Di Bernardo, who recently received a proclamation from Temecula, CA’s mayor for the food education and environmental work she is doing there. Gigi is the daughter of Leah Di Bernardo, co-leader of Slow Food Temecula and as Leah will proudly tell you, she is a bright little girl with her own big thoughts on food. But I think you will agree when you read the below transcript that her thoughts truly speak for themselves.