Last year taught us so many things. It was a reality check to the world of the effects that many of our actions have brought. We saw how climate catastrophes, recent illnesses, and other things highlighted the essential work that our farmworker community brings to each of us.
We increased food production at CATA's Community Gardens during the pandemic and grew almost 1,000 lbs. of fresh, organic, and culturally appropriate produce for our community. The community that was neglected by our system, excluded from stimulus payments, and didn't qualify for unemployment. Many of them were essential workers, working long hours in unsafe and unhealthy conditions.
During this past year, we felt the urgency to bridge older and newer generations, especially in our Food Justice work. We see a lot of disconnection between older generations and younger generations, and a lot of knowledge and wisdom is being lost as we lose our elders. We need to take more advantage of what we can learn from our elders while they are still with us and learn from their experiences with traditional, indigenous, and pesticide-free agriculture. With this in mind, we created a new program this year, CATA's Youth Food Justice Crew.
This Spring, we had our first cohort of 4 high school student interns join the Youth Food Justice Crew. They began to learn about what Food Justice means, talking about the systems of oppression that exist within our labor and food systems. They had the opportunity to engage in the groundwork, working in CATA's community garden to learn about organic growing practices and community outreach.
They were challenged to step out of their comfort zone. At the end of the internship, it was satisfying to hear them express themselves and appreciate what they've been doing in the past four months. These are young people who now have a different perspective on growing food, appreciating our farmworkers, and understanding the systems that continue to oppress us.
We are excited to welcome a new cohort of student interns in a few weeks for the summer and there will another cohort formed in the fall. If you would like to apply to join our program this fall, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org