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Tes Thraves
Coordinator, Youth and Community-Based Food Systems
Co-Coordinator, NC FoodCorps
North Carolina State University
Department of Horticultural Science
226 Kilgore Hall, Box 7609
Raleigh, NC 27695

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CEFS and Community Partners to Convene First Statewide Youth Food Advisory Council (from the June 2013 e-news)

FYI Youth Advisory Council Overview (.pdf)

Please visit the Food Youth Initiative website.

Food Youth Initiative

Youth Envision and Support the Advancement of a Just Food System

What is FYI?

The Food Youth Initiative (FYI) is a project housed at CEFS, and carried out with many community partners, with the mission of envisioning and supporting the advancement of a just food system. FYI 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.

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.


Seasonal face-to-face gatherings will provide training by both peer youth trainers and adult trainers on various subjects related to advocacy, food policy, justice, and professional development.

In between each training, the youth council representatives share back to their peers in their home organization or community the skills and tools they practiced at the training. This way, FYI uses a bit of a "train the trainer" model, amplifying the impact beyond the youth immediately trained as part of the statewide Youth Advisory Council.


We are looking to:

FYI Food Advisory Council Members, Cohort 1

Conetoe Family Life Center  - Edgecombe County
The Conetoe Family Life Center’s goal is to grow an organic garden in which youth and adults from diverse backgrounds work together to build a sustainable food system.

FYI Youth Council MemberJasmine Andrews

“When you have a group of youth working together toward a common goal of making our environment a healthier place to live, that is a great thing.”


JaMyrus Harrell

“I believe that our body is our temple and we must do all that we can to keep it healthy. When there is a diverse group of people coming together, you are able to pool your thoughts and make a change that can affect everyone.”

Poder Juvenil Campesino – Lenoir County
We are migrant students (13 and up) who live in North Carolina. Together, we learn how strengthen our voices and advocate for the farmworker community. The mission of our group is to empower, educate and create leadership.

José Godinez

“I believe PJC empowers the youth in our community to strive for a better environment. I believe this is possible if we retain the task at hand and remind ourselves of the rewarding outcome that can be achieved.”

Neftali Cuello

“My belief is that children should not be working in the fields with dangerous equipment, pesticides and without worker's compensation and without training. “

Old Zion Wesleyan – Columbus County
Old Zion Wesleyan Church offers multiple youth engagement programs centered on community outreach, youth leadership, and youth development.

Justin Suggs

“I believe in ‘better days through better ways’ - this statement holds true to the ones like us that strive to lead our youth to become more involved in where and how we obtain our food.”

Nathan Zima

“I believe that change starts in our own kitchen and it is my responsibility to inspire my peers to become more involved in agricultural issues around my local community.”

Growing Change – Hoke County
Growing Change salvages people and places’ potential. They are currently flipping an abandoned prison and converting it into a sustainable farm and educational center, achieving along the way vocational training, service learning, health outcomes, environmental awareness, and community engagement within the region. 

Carlos Basilio

“When we work together as a group, we have more hands and harvest a lot more food.”

Cody Oxendine

“I know that I am a leader and will work hard to improve the world one small problem at a time. We here at Growing Change love to make a change in communities.”

Growing Change – Scotland County

Terrance Smith

“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.”

Robert Hunt

 “What I am doing is working in a garden, harvesting in a garden, and giving food to people who can’t afford it. ”

Growing Change – Robeson County

Scottie Dimery

“If we work together we will make a better future for our lives and also our children.”

Ivan Capote

“I know that if I can put my mind to everything around me will be a lot easier and that if I don't get frustrated it will be a lot easier.”



FYI, a CEFS initiative with numerous community partners, is funded by W.K.Kellogg, Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of NC, and a NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher subgrant of the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.