The Real Food Challenge will be hosting the second annual Southeast Youth Food Activist Summit (SYFAS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on February 5-7, 2010. SYFAS will bring together over 150 young activists and students from Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and Arkansas to learn about sustainable food issues, engage in activist and leadership trainings, and build a youth movement toward a just and sustainable food system. Students and young people will come together for educational seminars, professional panel discussions, peer networking, activist workshops, and community dinners.
SYFAS 2010 will emphasize several themes integral to the youth food movement including youth empowerment, equal access to Real Food, and social justice issues relating to food production. Though SYFAS, The Real Food Challenge hopes to grow the youth movement for Real Food and cultivate responsible and sustainable eating and dining practices in colleges, universities, and high schools across the Southeast.
- Build coalitions on campuses, in local communities, and across the Southeastern region to support a sustainable food system;
- Provide the skills, inspiration, and education for young food activists and student leaders to start Real Food initiatives on their campuses and in their communities;
- Examine and address injustice in our current food system and work toward promoting access to Real Food and diversity in Food Activism;
- Improve future summits, as we strive to make this movement sustainable and inclusive for all.
There are numerous challenges facing sustainable food systems, as they work to feed neighborhoods and preserve the environment. But as our natural resources become increasingly scarce, the importance of dependable local systems grows. These systems require a shift in the way most populations are fed today, but they are vital in establishing security for the future of our communities. We need informed leaders who can build cooperation among farmers, farm workers, consumers, activists, and policy makers. These leaders should be equipped with the tools to empower all members of their communities, including underrepresented populations overcoming the intolerance that has restricted their access to nutritious food in the past.