GROW Windham staff members, including members of the Windham Youth CORE went to Wesleyan University for their Community Building for Environmental Justice Conference.
The youth were then given the opportunity to reflect on what they had learned at the conference. Below are some of their responses.
During the first workshop, the Windham Youth CORE members that were present learned of one organization called Haven’s Harvest, and another called Food Rescue US, which both work to help food insecure communities and avoid food waste.
When asked if anything was an example of a Band-Aid Solution:
“...during the first workshop, which was Food Recovery, they explained how Haven’s Harvest and Food Rescue US are groups that, for a while, have been helping the community… They understand that they can’t fully fix the food wasting problem but they still try regardless of how much hardship they go through. Example: Rotting foods, trying to give actually healthy food, and just trying to gain the food.”
“... they have saved millions of pounds worth of food and have given them back to schools or retirement homes that really need the food.”
Also reflecting on Haven’s Harvest:
“These people are truly helping and are solving an issue, not prolonging it… they give food that was going to be thrown out through the donation of the programs.”
“I won’t forget their names, Edith & Sharon. It was them that inspired me to make a move. Our home sucks, but with the voice inspired by them we can improve.”
Reflecting on examples of Mutual Aid from the conference:
“An example of Mutual Aid is the collaboration of ideas we initiate through these food justice meetings. The removal of environmental injustice involves all of these similar organizations’ collective goals, including GROW Windham’s. The discussions applied here today allows us, even as a younger generation, to be committed to these vital organizations, and sets the stage for our future collective plan and discussions.
On people’s more recent disconnection with nature:
“There are students that have not gone to do things like bird watching, gone to a forest, or gotten in a boat… I would like to see this program get more invested into appreciating the open forest areas that we are surrounded by.”
On what she would like applied to GROW Windham for the future:
“I think a day where we collaborate with the organizations that rescue food would be educational and an experience that would affect us positively.”