Two powerful organizations come together to educate youth on health and science while supporting underserved local communities by building a food secure future
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, February 15, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Teens For Food Justice (TFFJ) has formed a monumental alliance with Data Science Camp Inc. (DSCI) to provide students an avenue to foster critical leadership and agricultural skills while learning the importance of health, nutrition, food justice and STEM. Through this partnership, students will interact and unite virtually to amplify and develop solutions for the severe and far-reaching impacts of food insecurity, which have been exponentially magnified by the COVID pandemic. Simultaneously, the participants will collect crucial data on food deserts to spark positive growth on both local and national levels.
“TFFJ is thrilled to partner with DSCI to provide students from two key urban centers the opportunity to collaborate and learn from one another to build a sustainable, fair food system using the STEM and leadership skills they are mastering in both of these programs,” says Katherine Soll, CEO of Teens for Food Justice. “This joint program provides a powerful and truly unique opportunity to fuse and amplify the voice of youth across geographic boundaries and to bridge the equity gap on one of America’s most challenging and detrimental social injustices, equitable access to quality, healthy food.”
This partnership arose when the two influential non-profits saw a unique opportunity during the Covid-19 crisis. TFFJ had already been adapting cutting-edge, high-capacity agricultural technology for use in schools, transforming teens into young urban farmers growing produce, hydroponically, inside their school buildings and improving their and their communities’ relationship to the food they consume. When New York City schools closed due to the pandemic, Soll and Hunter decided to partner to bring interactive online classes to both New York and Washington, DC, allowing learning to permeate state lines. Their vision is to empower youth to work to eradicate food deserts and promote urban agriculture through STEM methods.
This program emerges at a time when the statistics surrounding the diet of America’s youth is alarming. According to US News, “Of more than 13,000 high school students surveyed in 2017, only 2% were getting the minimum recommended allotment of veggies: 2.5 to 3 cups per day.” Disease researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made the prediction that one in three children born in the United States in 2000 will likely develop type 2 diabetes sometime in their lifetime unless they get more exercise and improve their diets.
DSCI had been directing STEM summer camps for over six years. The organization already had a history of supporting and encouraging students through project led learning opportunities, providing them with the confidence and resources for STEM integration and student engagement. Through TFFJ and DSCI’s combined effort, students who complete the program will be eligible for a transition into leadership positions. All students will have the opportunity to design their own food justice project and participate in an interactive leadership conference with their peers, community leaders, and elected officials.
“Partnering with TFFJ allows DSCI to refine youth leadership within our existing program. Meanwhile, cultivating a youth-empowered pathway for Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Math career exploration,” says former USDA Deputy CIO and founder of Data Science Camp Inc., Joyce Hunter. “Youth can mobilize their enhanced STEM knowledge and skill to illuminate and resolve social injustices such as Hunger and Poverty, Urban Agriculture, Water and Drought, and Food Sustainability.”
An alliance which blends agriculture and advocacy with youth empowerment, this forward-thinking project aims to bring awareness of health and nutrition to food deserts while collecting critical data that will then be analyzed and used to implement tangible solutions within underprivileged communities. The initiative aims to eventually execute these constructive changes on a national level, improving health and quality of life through proper food and nutrition in communities across the United States.
That’s why TFFJ’s mission statement reads, “Give someone a meal and you feed him or her for a day. Teach young people to lead a healthy food movement and you feed a community for a lifetime.”
About Teens For Food Justice
By way of youth-led, community-based solutions, Teens For Food Justice strives to eradicate food insecurity and end the cycle of diet-related disease and poor health outcomes that dramatically and disproportionately impact low-income communities, particularly those of color. The organization pairs with Title 1 schools to train youth to become urban farmers who build and maintain indoor hydroponic farms that yield over 10,000 pounds of fresh produce annually at each location.
To learn more about Teens For Food Justice, please visit https://www.teensforfoodjustice.org.
About Data Science Camp Inc.
Data Science Camp Inc. delivers an entirely free, immersive, data mastery experience for high school students. This project-based, team-focused program is two-weeks long and designed to encourage youth interest in data and agriculture. Students receive on-site faculty guidance and are made familiar with programs like Excel, Tableau, Adobe, and ESRI to create Geospatial Information System maps.
To learn more about Data Science Camp Inc., please visit https://datasteamcamp.org/.
Data Science Camp Inc.