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New York State

The following organizations have programs that engage youth in creating sustainable food systems. If you live near one of these organizations, get in touch and find out how you can get involved!

Rochester Roots, Rochester, NY

Rochester Roots, formerly called Politics of Food, is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) grassroots organization that is committed to the creation of a locally based, sustainable food system that is nutritionally, ecologically, and economically sound. We fulfill our mission through education, advocacy, and community development.

Roots and WisdomSchenectady, NY 

Roots and Wisdom is a youth agriculture and community service program that brings together urban, suburban, and rural Schenectady County residents to grow organic vegetables for donation to local food pantries and for sale within the county. The Roots and Wisdom program teaches its participants about sustainable agriculture, hunger, nutrition, and diversity.

Massachusetts Avenue Project and Growing GreenBuffalo, NY

The Massachusetts Avenue Project proudly hosts the Growing Green Program, a youth development and urban agriculture program about increasing healthy food access and improving our communities.   Our program and policy work is all about making our food system more local and inclusive.

Grow NYC, New York, NY

GrowNYC is a hands-on non-profit which improves New York City’s quality of life through environmental programs that transform communities block by block and empower all New Yorkers to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.

East New York FarmsNew York, NY

The mission of the East New York Farms Project is to organize youth and adults to address food justice in our community by promoting local sustainable agriculture and community-led economic development.

GreenThumbNew York, NY

GreenThumb was initiated in response to the city’s financial crisis of the 1970s, which resulted in the abandonment of public and private land. The majority of GreenThumb gardens were derelict vacant lots renovated by volunteers. These community gardens, now managed by neighborhood residents, provide important green space, thus improving air quality, bio–diversity, and the well–being of residents. But gardens aren’t just pretty spaces; they’re also important community resources. GreenThumb provides programming and material support to over 500 community gardens in New York City. Workshops, which are the access point for supplies, are held every month of the year, covering gardening basics to more advanced farming and community organizing topics.

YO! Youth OrganicsAlbany, NY

YO! is a garden project engaging and partnering with youth through skills trainings in sustainable agriculture and community organizing. YO!  provides leadership opportunities, a challenging environment in which to grow and a space for personal development, especially the improvement of health and nutrition. Ultimately, YO! seeks to create a just, local, sustainable community food system where everyone has access to safe, healthy foods, regardless of income, where farmers receive a fair price for the food they produce, and the land and the people are once again in relationship.


These organizations are examples of how youth are coming together to make change at the national and international level! Volunteering with one of these organizations is another great way to get involved in the local foods movement.

The Rooted In Community National Network is a national grassroots network that empowers young people to take leadership in their own communities. It is a diverse movement of youth and adults working together and committed to fostering healthy communities and food justice through urban and rural agriculture, community gardening, food security, and related environmental justice work.

The Real Food Challenge serves as both a campaign and a network. The campaign is to increase the procurement of real food on college and university campuses, with the national goal of 20% real food by 2020. By leveraging their purchasing power we can catalyze the transformation of the larger food system. The network offers a chance for students and their allies (those working on the campaign along with those who’ve yet to sign on) to make connections, learn from one another, and grow the movement.

United Students for Fair Trade is a collaboration of students and youth working in solidarity with cooperative communities to promote fair trade principles, products and policies. Consciousness raising, leadership development and capacity building stand at the core of our grassroots organizing. USFT has three main functions. First, they organize– they work to consolidate and coordinate the power of the over 150 active student Fair Trade organizations in the U.S. Second, through intensive international exchanges and skill-building conferences, they engage in leadership development and capacity building. Third, they serve as a resource to student affiliates looking for anything from strategic campaigning advice to internship opportunities.

Student/Farmworker Alliance is a national network of students and youth organizing with farmworkers to eliminate sweatshop conditions and modern-day slavery in the fields. They work in alliance with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a Florida-based, membership-led organization of mostly Latino, Haitian, and Mayan Indian low-wage workers. Their work is part of larger movements for economic and social justice.

CoFed aims to bring student-run food cooperatives (co-ops) to college campuses across the nation. Its mission is to empower communities of students across North America to create financially sustainable campus hubs for food and social justice activism. They will use a reproduceable, cooperative development model to create a scalable network of independent student-run businesses, with a commitment to share skills, resources, and eventually, start up capital.

FoodCorps hires young adults for a yearlong term of public service in school food systems. FoodCorps members work on building up Farm to School supply chains, expanding food system and nutrition education programs, and building school food gardens. The ultimate goal of this program is to increase the health and prosperity of vulnerable children, while investing in the next generation of farmers.YG-girl and veg


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