Strengthening the Roots Youth Convergence at UC Santa Cruz

Strengthening the RootsMore than 80 youth leaders took part in a Nourish workshop offered during the fourth annual Strengthening the Roots: Food & Justice Youth Convergence at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Organized by the California Student Sustainability Coalition and West Coast Real Food Challenge, the convergence attracted 300 students from colleges, universities, and high schools across the state of California.

The Nourish workshop, facilitated by Seth Nickinson, explored creative ways of using media and education tools to engage young people in a conversation about food and sustainability. Questions guiding the session included: What does Nourish mean to you? What defines a food literate person? How can you build food literacy in your community? During the workshop, students collaborated in small teams to plan how they would use Nourish resources to increase public dialogue and inspire action projects. Among the ideas emerging from the discussion: Work with elementary and middle schools to investigate the question What’s the story of your food?; organize a Nourish potluck and screening at a local community center; and design a workshop for incoming freshman to discuss the link between food and sustainability.

Each student attending the Nourish workshop received a free copy of the Nourish DVD to use in their own education and outreach work. As one student attending from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, commented after the event, “I have been interested in the sustainable food movement since my sophomore year of high school and was greatly inspired by the Strengthening the Roots conference. I just gave a speech in my communications class about what I learned at the Nourish workshop. I described the term food literacy, and explained that how we nourish our bodies directly affects personal health as well as the health of the environment. I’m honored to be part of this initiative.”

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