August 30, 2013

Earlier this summer, people from various New York City organizations came together to celebrate youth food justice and community health projects that were created by local middle-and high-school students.  The event, which was held at the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College in East Harlem, was co-hosted by the New York City Food Policy Center, the Children’s Aid Society  and MAChO’s Youth Leadership Program.

Art projects such as a rap about healthy eating, a community mural promoting consumption of fruits and vegetables and a cookbook filled with Dominican Republic favorites modified to be diabetic-friendly were just a few amongst the many projects exhibited by the youth.  This event also showcased a photo-based project that I conducted in collaboration with the Children’s Aid Society and youth from their East Harlem Center.   A technique called Photovoice was used, which is a community-based research method that engages people to capture images of their environment.  It provided an opportunity for the youth to record their own stories around important food issues and empower them to promote positive changes in their own communities in East Harlem and the South Bronx.  Check out a previous blog post that talks more about this community engagement technique.

Every single one of the youth’s photos were auctioned off that night to raise funds for an expanded photovoice project this upcoming year, where we’ll be exploring more about community food justice and promoting youth advocacy around these issues.

This Food Justice PhotoVoice Project highlights the potential impact of collaborations between academic institutions and key community-based organizations such as the Children’s Aid Society, in working together to promote positive and sustainable changes in communities.

Stefania Patinella (Food and Nutrition Programs Director at Children's Aid Society) and May May Leung (Assistant Professor at the CUNY School of Public Health) displaying some of the youth's work.
Stefania Patinella (Food and Nutrition Programs Director at Children’s Aid Society) and May May Leung (Assistant Professor at the CUNY School of Public Health) displaying some of the youth’s work.
youth food justice
Participating youth chatting to each other about their own work.