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Sprouting Justice: Cultivating Fresh Food and Future Food Leaders

Updated: Jul 8

Summer is here, and New Jerseyans are ready to enjoy the shore and long, hot days. But for food lovers, summer also means fresh, local produce! For us at CATA's Food Justice Program, it is the busiest time of year. In a little over a month, we have been hosting community workdays and keeping busy planting and transplanting some of the produce for this season. This week, we will begin sowing Food Justice Leaders through our 10-week summer-long internship program.

Our internship program empowers aspiring changemakers to take root in the food justice movement. This cohort will be our 5th cohort since 2021. This year, we also broke the record as we received 40 applicants! Food Justice Co-coordinators Kathia and Jose have been getting ready to kick off this internship program and provide the fertile ground for these new cohort to blossom into Food Justice Leaders. The unique thing about this program is that youth can hear from farmworker organizers, which gives them access to firsthand experience of the realities of this essential sector of the food system.

Along with the educational component of this internship, youth will also have the opportunity to learn from seed to sale, the entire food journey from planting to running the farm stand, offering fresh produce and value-added products made from items in the garden like salsas, salves, and jams. Our program equips youth with the skills to grow food, run businesses, and navigate Food Assistance Programs like SNAP and WIC.

With our internship program, we also intend to bridge the gap and connect community members to youth and vice versa for an intergenerational learning experience. The new generation will be able to learn about sustainable, agroecological, and efficient practices for growing clean, chemical-free food and, most importantly, share them with others.

If you would like to learn more about our Food Justice Program, we invite you to visit our community garden at 80 Church Street, Bridgeton, NJ 08302. Every Friday from July 12 to September 27, from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, we offer chemical-free, fresh, and local produce at affordable prices. We accept cash, credit cards, SNAP, SFMNP, and WIC.

Our next volunteer day is on Saturday, July 13, from 9 AM to 1 PM. Don't miss this opportunity to make a difference and be a part of our thriving community. Activities will include harvesting, weeding, pruning, and more. Volunteers get to take home part of the harvest for free.

For more information about CATA's Food Justice Program, contact Kathia Ramirez at or 856-575-5511.

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