Youth are Cultivating Land and Consciousness in California

Youth are Cultivating Land and Consciousness in California
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Youth in California are rising up to resist injustice and at the same time, generate solutions. This amazing mix of young leaders recently were awarded a Youth Rising mini-grant to start a social change project. They are active in range of activities ranging from food-justice farming to creating spaces for popular education trainings in their communities.

Anthony Mario Oregel, Extended Education, Pauma Indian Reservation, CA.

Anthony Mario Oregel, Extended Education, Pauma Indian Reservation, CA.

As an intern at Solidarity Farm, I’ve been able to turn my passion for healthy food into tangible outcomes. Our small farm feeds hundreds of families each week and hosts educational tours for people of all ages. We show people how to grow beyond organic produce, pasture animals, and work in a cooperative model.

I would like to help expand the number of people who are able to share this experience by creating additional housing for youth to stay at the farm and volunteer for month long intervals. I plan to install a small bunk house at the farm that will host up to 20 young people per year over the next few years. I think this effort will not only help Solidarity Farm achieve its environmental and social mission but also introduce young people to the importance of sustainable farming.

Imari Keith, Healing And Cleansing Garden, San Francisco, CA.

Our project is a youth-led healing garden at Leadership High School where we have many students who come from low income communities and a majority of our students are people of color. We are excited to have a space where we can strengthen our relationships, grow knowledge, and feel good together.

Eron Liddie, Afrikatown Farm, West Oakland, CA.

Afrikatown Farm is a revolutionary food sovereignty project and community liberation center in west Oakland. Our program applies permaculture farming to creating a food system that nourishes and activates the power of the west oakland community. We will be working with Children, families, and activist networks to build unity and strength.

Akosua Bema Boateng, Project G.O.O.D Growing Our Own Destiny, Sacramento, CA. Project G.O.O.D is an acronym for growing our own destiny. We use urban agriculture to transform the hood for good by growing good food, ourselves and the community. We are located in South Oak Park, Sacramento, and use 1 acre of land and a community room and garden at Fruitridge Elementary to generate urban agriculture activism and get more people of color and low income in touch with the sacred work of cultivating the Earth.

Project G.O.O.D plans to make garden survival boxes to help people start off their own home grown gardens. It’s our way of carrying out food activism, ensuring that all people can have a high quality life while giving back to the Earth.

Erik Rodriguez, “Mission Week” Camp For Refugee Children

Erik Rodriguez "Mission Week" Camp for Refugee Children in City Heights, San Diego City Heights, San Diego, CA.

The UrbanLife high school student leadership teams are planning a camp with elementary school aged refugees from countries all over Africa and Asia who have relocated to our neighborhood (City Heights and Southeast San Diego).

We will use the money for supplies for the camp (including plants and other garden materials to contribute to the pre-existing garden, nutritious food for the kids, gas for a trip to the beach, school supplies–a huge need for newly arrived kids). The money will also be put toward filming and documenting the week.

The Mission Week Camp is a collaboration with San Diego Refugee Tutoring, which supports the kids, and the high schoolers will be asked to commit long term to tutoring the kids after the camp is over. We have been learning about all the injustices the refugee kids have gone through, especially in this current political climate, and this was our absolute number one choice for using the money.

Abigail Cruz, Bompost, Santa Ana, CA.

Bompost is a youth led project in Santa Ana, California where youth collect organic waste and turn it into compost. The compost is processed at a micro farm where it is used by the community to make organic food for low income residents some of which are our families.In order to have more micro farms throughout the city we as the youth started a campaign called Dab4Land to get the vacant lots around the city to be used for community benefit. We continue to work on this campaign to address various land issues in our city. One of our recent achievements is we were able to get land at a local church to start the micro farm.

Alaric Pelka, Plant Love, Oceanside, CA.

Alaric Pelka started Plant Love to create a positive impact on her community of Oceanside, California. The purpose of Plant Love is to provide planter boxes full of nutrient dense, organic fruits and veggies for the impoverished to enjoy.

The planter boxes will be outside of local partner businesses that offer to help maintain the plants. The fruits and vegetables will be free for any member of the community to pick. This project will not only give the impoverished an alternative to cheap, unhealthy food, but will also provide knowledge to people on the simplicity and ease of growing their own meals.

Han Tran, QT Viet Cafe, Oakland, CA.

Han Tran, QT Viet Cafe

QTViệt Cafe is an Oakland-based social enterprise that aims to uplift QT (queer and trans) Việt narratives over drinks, snacks, art and intergenerational dialogue. We commit to transform and heal wounds of homophobia and transphobia caused by imperialism and heterosexism in the Vietnamese diaspora through deconstructing queer liberation through art.

Art is a key element in bringing together Vietnamese workers, families, and youth and in uniting a collective in the fight for justice for ourselves. We ground ourselves in creating products that are rooted in ingredients passed down from our ancestors, as well as, participate in local economies that support socially just, ecologically sustainable economic solutions.

Nicholas Rajen, Healing the Earth; Decolonizing Ecology Conference. AISES@UCR, Riverside, CA.

The University of California, Riverside’s student chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society is hosting the first annual “Healing the Earth” conference; specifically on the subject of “Decolonizing Ecology.” There will be skill-sharing and workshops for undergraduates and high school students to define and clarify future academic and professional paths; an open forum to discuss the reclamation and future of Indigenous agriculture and ecological practices to strive for sustainable living; and poster presentations for students and scholars to share research and creative work pertaining to indigeneity and science.

We will contribute to the conversation about indigenous empowerment in the sciences put forth by the national AISES mission, in addition to broadening and refocusing the relationship between STEM and American Indian Society.

Luc Espinsoa, The Mouthful Project, Marin, CA.

Luc coordinates a series of intimate dinner events with 6 teen peers from underserved communities who are engaged in social change efforts at their schools and community leaders such as entrepreneurs, politicians, and educators. Our goal is to create rich dialogue and networking amongst the youth and adult leaders and an exchange of knowledge to benefit all.

Ryan Macintosh, Santa Rosa Cultural Garden, Santa Rosa Native American Reservation, CA.

The Reservation is located in the San Jacinto/Santa Rosa Mountains in Southern California. It is extremely rural and isolated. A community garden will better serve the entire community of Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians by providing an area to gather and discuss culture and heritage. Teaching each other about the native plants in the cultural garden will help ensure that the knowledge continues to be passed down.

Phoebe Anne Collver-Freeland, Phoebe's Friends Microsanctuary, Fremont, CA.

Phoebe Anne Collver-Freeland, Phoebe's Friends Microsanctuary

The sanctuary is home to a small group of farmed animals, and preschool and elementary school children are invited to Phoebe’s Friends in small groups to learn about farmed animals in a non-production setting. The experience exposes the students to the philosophy that all animals deserve our respect and care; fostering empathy and compassion. Many children might never have a similar opportunity- if not for a small neighborhood microsanctary!

Xiomara Arriaran, Youth Health Action, Santa Rosa, CA.

Our effort will create a phone application designed for teenagers to navigate and access meaningful health care services. This application will to not only help youth research and understand health problems in our community, but to also learn easy ways to boost health and remain resilient during these intense times. We believe that access to education, healthcare, and mental health should be a right to the public. This is why Youth Health Action Alliance (YHAA), a student-run high school union, calls attention towards increasing Sonoma County’s Human Development Index score by addressing key determinants of health affecting the teenage population.

Our vision is to progress our community’s physical and mental wellbeing by connecting teenagers to healthcare. Education is the platform through which we engage students about the healthcare field and equip them to return their knowledge back to their community in the form of an increased Human Development Index.

Jenna Lee, A Film and Food, Los Angeles, CA

My project will create a series of events that showcase animal rights and sustainability movements through films on campus and presentations. We aim to shine light on the injustices and harm caused by the industrial agricultural corporations and encourage a return to sustainable living.

Emma Umiko Pedersen, Getting Real Sex Ed for Youth, Oakland, CA.

Getting Real- Sex Ed for Youth is a youth-led education project that includes peer-to-peer classes and a website with informative topics related to sexual education. This project was started because many states don’t require sexual education or if they do, they don’t require the information to be correct.

Brenda Fernanda Verano Uribe Youth in Action, Los Angeles, CA.

Brenda Fernanda Verano Uribe Youth in Action,

‘Youth in Action project will take place in Los Angeles and will serve youth from all over L.A (South central, Boyle Heights,& Lincoln Heights). This project started as an idea for the incorporation of solidarity between youth in these hard times, where youth are transforming into warriors and bold individuals.

Youth in Action is a series of trainings and events for young leaders to develop skills for community power building. My peers and I will facilitate workshops and support other youth organizers to develop skills for community challenges such as; gentrification, immigration and/ or food justice. We then support youth in creating their own campaigns around community justice and unity. This project is desperately needed at this time of change and revolution, and will provide a place of individual growth and help youth find their voice.

Delaney Marie McDermott, Making Waves, Los Angeles, CA.

Making Waves is a program started by three sisters, Michaela, Cameron, and Delaney McDermott. It is a surfing program created for young girls to promote healthy living, mentally and physically. The goal is to create a positive and supportive environment for girls to be themselves, share memories, and learn to surf!

The program is aimed at girls in 6th through 9th grade, going through their formative years, in hope that a girl on girl community will inspire and encourage girls to follow their passions and dreams. The mission of the program is to share a passion for sun, surf, and good vibrations.

The sun stands for our commitment to preserving and appreciating the earth, surf refers to fitness and staying active, and good vibrations involves having a positive attitude in every aspect of life.

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