by Lachelle Black, a Junior at Turner Tech
& Youth L.E.A.D. Peer Mentor
Youth L.E.A.D. provides a hands on experience to learn about the foods we eat. While being a part of the program, I’ve had the opportunity to tour local gardens and farms throughout my community. I’ve also had the chance to work at a local Farmers Market, and now understand the importance of locally and organically grown fruits and vegetables.
While working at the Farmers Market, I’ve also had the chance to learn about new fruits and vegetables such as: asparagus, chard, kale, bok choi, French sorrel, star fruit, star apple, canistel, and sapodilla.
I’ve learned that reading a food label is imperative, but it’s also essential to know exactly where your food comes from.
I also learned that you can’t trust everything you read, because there are a lot of politics we don’t know about that can influence what is put in our food.
Those who advocate food justice throughout the Youth L.E.A.D. program strive to alleviate food injustices globally, starting with our very own community.
Being surrounded by those who actually care about food justice, I can’t help but examine myself and become aware of what I eat. In addition to eating a bigger variety of fruits and vegetables, I’ve started my own compost at home and I now eat less meat.
I’ve also influenced my mother to cook food from the Farmers Market and to change her eating habits. My little sisters also learn from me and they enjoy eating the fruits I bring home from the Farmers Market.
I also share information with my friends, who are now interested in the program. Joining the Youth L.E.A.D. program has been a life changing experience for me; and I’m proud to be a part of a health changing movement.
by Selena Joseph, North Miami Senior High School Sophomore
& Youth L.E.A.D. Mentor
Youth L.E.A.D. is such a wonderful program that provided me a new learning experience. Before I joined Youth L.E.A.D., I had no idea how important it was to eat organic and locally-grown products and how much healthier it was for you.
Also, I never realized how there were food and environmental issues taking place in the world. Not only in the world we’re living in, but my own community.
In my community, there’s only a local corner stores that sells chips, candy, hot sausages, etc. My community didn’t have a local store that was accessible and sold healthier options such as locally-grown and organic fruits and vegetables!
I learned about the Farmer’s Market, which has growers selling locally-grown, farm-raised products that are much better to eat than junk food. There’s so much I’ve learned from Youth L.E.A.D. It has been a life changing experience.
Instead of eating snacks like chips everyday afterschool like I used to, I began eating more fruits as afterschool snacks, such as the sliced starfruits that I buy from the farmer’s market. Not only has it changed my life tremendously, but I got my mother to buy more veggies and less processed meat to cook.
Also, I used to eat at fast food restaurants more than 3 times a week. Now, I eat at fast food restaurants only once per week. I started to drink at least 2-3 glasses of water per day.
If it wasn’t for Youth L.E.A.D., providing me with so much information, I probably would face future consequences such as high blood pressure or diabetes(which runs in both sides of the family). So, thanks to my cousin Claudia, who told me about YOUTH L.E.A.D., otherwise I would never have known as much as I do now.
To read more about Selena, look at her ‘Student of the Month’ feature, here.
By Judith Fucien, Junior at North Miami Senior High School
& Youth L.E.A.D. Peer Mentor
Youth L.E.A.D. has been a great two year experience for me; from starting off as a volunteer and doing outreach and being exposed to different people, to actually working as an apprentice at the farmers market, and gardening around different communities that don’t have access to affordable, locally grown healthy food.
These experiences have helped increase my knowledge of the many silent struggles communities around the world are facing; and there are no positive changes replacing these situations.
In spite of this, being in Youth L.E.A.D. and being educated about these dilemmas has developed my maturity. Because of the experience, I am more social, friendly, responsible, independent and respectful towards others.
Therefore, I thank Youth L.E.A.D. for opening my eyes towards many situations; and especially for bringing food justice and getting the words out to all the innocent people who are being affected, so we can accomplish our mission of saving lives and saying No to toxic and (G)enitic (M)odified (O)rganisms !
To read more about Judith, look at her ‘Student of the Month’ feature, here.