Teens for Food Justice

This interview details Teens for Food Justice, a company based in the United States. The interview is with Katherine Soll, Founder & CEO of Teens for Food Justice.

Source: Teens for Food Justice

What is the origin story of Teens for Food Justice?

TFFJ’s CEO/Founder Kathy Soll and co-Founder Chana Chenfeld noticed a gap in the community service requirements many high schoolers were required to complete, and the pipeline for participation in meaningful service that included learning about the very social justice challenges and inequities that made community service necessary in the first place.

They decided to fill the gap, and TFFJ grew out of the nonprofit Students for Service, formed in 2009, to engage teen volunteers in meaningful community service programs for the benefit of at-risk populations throughout New York City. In 2013, the organization honed its focus on the critical issues of food justice and sustainable, healthy food access, launching the current TFFJ model in partnership with co-founder Tara Swibel.

In just 10 years since its founding in 2013, TFFJ has grown into an organization serving 7,500 students through six farms in two states across 19 schools, with six additional farms in our pipeline and more in development.

Source: Teens for Food Justice


What are some of the biggest challenges facing food security/insecurity in the future and how is TFFJ solving them?

Incorporating healthy and nutritious meals into school environments is a powerful strategy to address overall academic performance, and also health concerns like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. TFFJ is radically transforming access to healthy and nutritious food in under-resourced communities, reshaping how students learn, and the ways that communities eat.

School-based hydroponic farming is a transformative method to address food insecurity. As in Teens for Food Justice’s model, reimagining unused or underutilized spaces in schools provides an innovative twist on urban farming, one that provides deeper nutrition education to students, provides healthy food to school cafeterias and all students, distributes healthy affordable food to local communities, and empowers the next generation of the green sector economy.

Specifically in Far Rockaway, residents often face challenges in obtaining fresh, nutritious food options, leading to a reliance on convenience stores with inflated prices and limited healthy choices. TFFJ is striving to transform the Rockaway Peninsula into a hub for fresh food, nutrition education, and healthy living for students and the local community. This academic school year, the TFFJ farm at the Far Rockaway Educational Campus will be joined by three additional farms: Scholars’ Academy, P.S. 183 Dr. Richard R. Green School and M.S. 53 Brian Piccolo.

Source: Teens for Food Justice


How does urban farming / indoor farming play into the strategy and goals of TFFJ? 

TFFJ provides a uniquely comprehensive approach to impacting food equity by using schools as hubs of a multi-pronged, youth-led, community-focused approach to social change.

Currently, TFFJ is empowering more than 1,600 NYC students as 21st-century urban farmers, growing large quantities of hydroponic produce inside their Title I schools, and as educators/advocates leading their food-insecure communities towards healthier futures.

Through STEM classes and school-based internships, TFFJ students learn to build and run school-based farms — each of which can grow up to 10,000 pounds of produce annually that is available daily at lunch to more than 7,500 students in campus cafeterias and also distributed within local food-insecure communities.

Source: Teens for Food Justice


How can people connect with you or learn more about Teens for Food Justice?

Support our cause to end food insecurity in one generation! Donate today to join our mission.

Follow our journey on Instagram (@teensforfoodjustice), Facebook (Teens for Food Justice), TikTok (@teensforfoodjustice) and LinkedIn (Teens for Food Justice)!

Source: Teens for Food Justice

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