Youth Food Justice Taskforce launches at North End Garden

December 1, 2011

Ms. Sheila Johnson, Anthony Grimmett, Roger Boy
and EugeneMoore talk with community members
at the launch of the Youth Food Justice Taskforce
DETROIT -- The Detroit Youth Food Justice Taskforce officially launched on November 6 with a special work day event at the Moore Community Garden in Detroit’s North End neighborhood. Youth Food Justice Taskforce members were joined by the garden’s founder, Eugene Moore, other community members  and youth from the Five Elements Gallery in hopes of revitalizing a neglected community resource. 

“Of course we are just getting started,” said North End resident and co-founder of the Youth Food Justice Taskforce Anthony Grimmett.  “This is a time for learning before we actually go out and start making moves in terms of food justice. I’m really excited to get out and to do as much as I possibly can.”

Grimmett, EMEAC Volunteer of the Quarter Roger Boyd and DeRaina Stinson are spearheading EMEAC’s foray into developing youth leadership in the city’s food justice work. All three are on EMEAC’s Young Educators Alliance (YEA) Team and will be working on upcoming events like the YEA Team’s Feed One/Teach One event focusing on organizing a community response to the recently enacted public assistance cut offs. The group has also worked to put together a series of Family Dinner Night events with local schools like Palmer Park Academy and Nsoroma Institute. 

Eugene Moore of the Moore Community Garden
“They are really eager to take the lead and getting other young people to be a part of this organization,” said Sanaa Nia-Joy of EMEAC’s Greener Schools Program. “EMEAC is building up the foundation for the youth food justice taskforce. Once we have the foundational principles together and start deconstructing the Farm Bill, we’ll focus on developing a logo and trying to establish an online presence. Then, I think we will get more people in.”

During the launch the group worked on building a catch basin for the garden, putting the produce to bed for the winter and preparing the soil for the spring growing season. Their plan is to once again turn the garden into a valuable community resource by increasing the productivity of the garden and enlisting community members toparticipate in it’s upkeep. 

If all goes well, the group envisions the garden being a source of fresh produce for the local food pantry, The Storehouse of Hope. 

“The key thing was we focused on becoming more rooted to the Earth in that space where the garden is located,” Sanaa said. “We’ve put work into the community garden. We’ve put in a water catchment system, which is almost completed. We’ve put the garden to bed and we hope to expand the garden next spring to supply vegetables for the Storehouse of Hope. It’s just a few blocks from the garden.

Sanaa Nia Joy YFJTF EMEAC liason
“It went really well. I feel like it’s still in the process of jelling. We had the two young men that started this off with EMEAC and then the (Five Elements Gallery) came in with a couple of other youth. Our plan is to get the flyer out by December – especially to the Detroit Future Youth members that may be interested in participating. There were a lot of bright ideas that came out of the meeting with myself, Anthony and Roger. They are both artistic and they plan on creating somethings  for the Youth Food Justice Taskforce as an earned income strategy.”

“Maybe that’s something they can set up as a cooperative. They’ll have the pride of making money from something they would have created that takes food justice from an adult perspective to a youth perspective. That could really let them put their mark on it which is really what youth leadership development is about. We want to create an environment where young people can thrive by using their gifts and talents in a way that furthers the mission.”