CEFS and Community Partners to Convene First Statewide Youth Food Advisory Council
From the June 2013 e-Newsletter
CEFS, in cooperation with various community partners, is piloting a statewide youth food advisory council to support the development of youth networks and train youth in capacity-building for food advocacy work. The effort is part of the Food Youth Initiative (FYI), a project housed at CEFS whose mission is to envision and support the advancement of a just food system. FYI is providing training and networking opportunities to young people aged 16-24 from youth groups across the state who are already working on agricultural and food justice issues and who are interested in affecting policy in their local communities.
The statewide council will amplify the youth perspective on food system needs and opportunities in North Carolina, while developing an experienced collective of young leaders in the local and sustainable food system movement. The creation of the youth food council reflects a rise in the number of food policy councils nationally, which can be attributed to an increased awareness of food and food system issues in society in general.
Council representatives will participate in both peer-to-peer and adult expert trainings around a variety of topics related to advocacy and leadership including "Storytelling as a Tool for Advocacy" and "Entrepreneurship and Community Wealth Building." The youth representatives will also examine policy and civics during a Summer Policy Institute.
Above: Youth Food Advisory Council members and adult allies at FYI's first training gathering, Storytelling as a Tool for Advocacy, March 2013
Opposite: Youth Council members at a hands-on "DIY Video 101" workshop, March 2013
The first cohort of 12 representatives was recruited earlier in the year from Edgecombe, Hoke, Lenoir, Robeson, Columbus, and Scotland counties, and a second cohort is being recruited now. "I am trying to bring change to my county by educating not only youth but adults in how youth presence is needed in the solution," said Terrance Smith, youth council representative from Scotland County.
The local and regional experiences of council representatives will provide the basis for proposals that the Youth Food Advisory Council will advance to the North Carolina Sustainable Local Foods Advisory Council, a statewide legislated body tasked with facilitating the development of a sustainable local food economy in North Carolina.
Council representatives will also pursue seats on local advisory councils, host local educational youth forums, design mentorship programs, and share back capacity-building opportunities.