2016 CRAFT Day Reflection Pieces

2016 Reflections

Youth were asked, ‘ Why are CRAFT Days important to you?’

“They are a good way to explore locations that are different food warriors work in NYC.”
“It helps us to create bonds with other organizations.”
“It is important because it shows how connected we are.”
“I get to see that they are other youths like me that’s doing the work.”
“It allow for me to learn new skills, obtain knowledge, and get to know people outside of you circle.”

November, 2016

NESAWG Conference 2016


At the first workshop of the day, me and my coworkers from East New York Farms and Friends of the High Line presented in front of at least 80 people. We were extremely nervous but we were able to pull through as we got into the flow of talking about the work that we do. After we finished our presentation, we were able to attend many other workshops that focused on youth leading youth, adultism, and even a workshop that gave the youth a voice to speak on politics following the presidential election.

In the middle of the day, a group of us went to a nearby restaurant to have lunch together. We all got pizza and hung out with new folk. We ended up doing one of social media’s trending challenges, The Mannequin challenge. It basically had all of us freeze in action and take a video with music playing. After our fun lunch, Corey, the youth leader at Added Value, led a facilitated conversation in order for us to get to know each other better and to talk about how we can better connect with each other in the future from such distance across the northeast. We brainstormed as a large group and ended up coming up with the idea that we would stay in touch through social media and plan more events of our own that would involve the same faces meeting and getting familiarized with each other.

After the last workshop of the day was over, we did once more mannequin challenge before we finished the day off with a dinner that the conference provided—it was marvelous. There we all got to sit and take a break from everything we had learned. I was able to ponder back on my experience, and I realized that going through the time and effort of planning to host workshops and planning how to represent your organization wasn’t for nothing. All of us youth simply attending and giving ourselves a voice, exchanging contact information by will, was spreading promotion of the movement on its own. The idea of networking, speaking up, and connecting to others has become natural as I get accustomed to the conference routine. I was able to learn that we are not the only ones within this movement, and that adultism is becoming a more familiar topic in society. I see that not only youth but some of our adults are passionate about a change that will make space for the youth of this generation to step up.

– Nelly B.
Added Value Farms

Attending the NESAWG Conference with the Youth Food Justice Network was enthralling. It was my first time visiting Connecticut and my first time in a long time sleeping in a hotel. During the conference, we learned that this was the first time youth were able to attend and lead their own workshops. We networked amongst ourselves and met other programs that shared our general purpose and goals. I think that we did a great job trying to get every program interested in each other to stay in touch. From the road trip to Connecticut to the road trip back to New York, it was a new experience.

-Cristian Polanco

The NESAWG Conference was a great learning experience on a social level, from the heavy focus on social aspects of Food Justice to all the new teen groups we met that do the same work as us. We discussed the various points of view of farmers, mothers, and teachers in the agricultural world, as well as the new president and how he might affect food justice. This was an amazing experience.

-Darnell Maxwell

The NESAWG Conference

Our first out of state trip

It was really lit

We learned a lot there

I felt like an adult yay

It was so professional

And met cool people

It was amazing how so

Many groups cared yay

Youth can make a change

What a cool experience

We do have to say

No one can stop us

We could make a difference

Go youth!!! Woohoo yay 🙂

We come together

And we all choose to unite

Against all the odds

-Sarah Chen

October , 2016


 September, 2016

Friends Of The High Line


Cristian Polanco,

On our most recent craft day we were able to deepen relations and communications with East New York Farms and its new members that was not able to take a tour of the High Line. We practiced learning each others names with fun ice breakers that allowed us to get to know each other. After the ice breakers we were given a brief, but concise history of previous Youth Summits and the goals for each. With this recap we were able to assess goals most suitable for this years Summit. We broke out into breakout groups focusing on a specific aspect of the Summit. My breakout group’s focus was on activities/lessons that would educate people on healthy fresh foods while also encouraging them to consider the issues that riddle our society and communities when it comes to foods. Each breakout group presented their ideas and we really made a lot of progress together thinking of proposals. After this we went on a great tour of the High Line that went through much of the history surrounding the area of the High Line and its people. Overall I felt that this C.R.A.F.T. day was a great success and we really got to work together as a team.

With Breakfast eaten,
And Ice broken,
The meeting had begun.
With brains storming,
Ideas Whirling,
We started to have fun.
We conjured up solutions,
From all our contributions,
However as 1 o’clock began to near,
Our ideas began to disappear.
Luckily it was time to go outside,
Since our tour guides had just arrived.
Then we have our groups combine,
As we learn the past of the Highline.
Talking and learning an hour goes by,
And we realize just how fast time can fly.
Now Craft Day has ended,
And we all say our goodbyes,
However no sadness is seen,
As excitement fills each eye.
Because we can’t wait,
For the next Craft Day to arrive.

– Darnell Maxwell

Stephanie Calderon,

I found this past CRAFT day to be incredibly productive, more so than the past one. We met up together and came up with ideas for the next upcoming summit. The categories were materials, food, workshops and social media. I was part of the materials category and it was a lot of fun brainstorming and interacting with the members of the other group; they were very friendly and funny. At the end of it all, we had an outline for what we wanted the summit to look like and were very pleased with it.

July 19, 2016

The Youth Food Justice Network visits Philly Urban Creators


A report-back from Katherine Cunalata- As a new member of Added Value’s Red Hook Community Farm for the summer of 2016, I was given the opportunity to visit another farm called Life Do Grow in Philadelphia. The youth farmers, having a perfect combination of personalities, welcomed myself and my coworkers on their farm. With open arms and a whole lot of excitement, they got the chance to show us how they get things done over in Philly. What they showed us ranged from composting to aquaponics and a little cozy education center. After my trip to Philly, I realized that the majority of New York community farms know a few things about what is called the Food Justice Movement.

This was a day where other farms got the chance to come together and talk about how the Food Justice Movement should be approached as well as what the raw definition of Food Justice is. The day ended with a lot of encouragement towards the youth to take a stand against this issue by starting at the root of it: food distribution. Many discussed trying to help the community make healthier food choices, not only for the sake of eating better but for the sake of nipping at the starting point of most issues closely related to the reason why the Food Justice Movement came into existence like jobs, the economy, immigration, greed in the food industry (and other companies/ industries), hunger, etc. The list continues because our most important source of sustenance, food (water is just as important too), is being manipulated and turned into a “commodity” rather than a key need for human survival. New York City’s community farms are aiming to raise awareness about this issue and encourage young people to think deeper about what really exists behind the scenes in terms of what we eat, how we got it, who made it, and so on.

We live in a world where we turn the other cheek in order to find some bliss in ignorance but this place will definitely find a way to open our eyes a day too late. Therefore, the solution starts with the youth of today who will drive tomorrow into a better future so that generations later will know some humanity and peace.

June 9, 2016

 Added Value Farms

Lady bugs crawling on hands                     IMG_3855

While we weeded fast
With dirt in our shoes and pants
The joy of winning drove us 
From weeding to composting 
We grabbed our shovels 
And picked up all the carbon
To add to the nitrogen 
Tiring and hard work 
But a memorable trip
Despite the harsh winds 
We were all winners that day
-Shahria Ahmed, Friends of the Highline
I had a very productive time at Red Hook during CRAFT Day. The day started off with the members from all groups introducing their names and playing a game with it. I found the game to be very entertaining, with everyone on their toes trying to not get called.
 The “Weeding Game” that occurred afterwards was also very fun, albeit dirty. There was dirt in my shoes, my eyes, my hair, but I didn’t notice it until the very end because everyone was so focused on winning that we had no time to concern ourselves with the dirt. Finally, we broke off into groups to work on individual projects; I was part of the group that was tasked with shoveling mulch and bringing it to the J-rows. My group had people from all of the different organizations, and as the day progressed we soon started talking and sharing with each other. It was nice finding other people with the same interests as you and having lengthy conversations about it with them. Overall, I had a lot of fun at Red Hook that day and I even made some new acquaintances.
-Stephanie Calderon, Friends of the Highline
Have you ever felt a lady bug tickle as he climbs up your finger?
Have you ever experienced the moist soil dig into your finger nail ?
Have you ever heard the honey bees buzz pass your ear as the scent of the blooming flowers linger?
Have you ever seen the calm speed of a rushed snail?
Have you ever felt the tremendous satisfaction of pulling out a weed with the strength of your leg and arm?
All this you can find at Red Hook Community Farm.
-Kelly Elugardo, Friends of the Highline

April 29, 2016

The Youth Food Justice Network visits Queens County Farm

IMG_20160429_120047859_HDRThe CRAFT day gathered teens from different youth programs around New York and allowed us to work together to share ideas in a fun and active way. Even though this is what I feel about it, I also feel that youth programs still stuck within their already established enclaves of social cliques. I think that this is because we teens feel more comfortable around the people we associate with most. Despite this issue I feel that the group work we had was quite efficient. My group was in charge of the name and we were quickly able to make a consensus. The trip to the farm was also a good experience. We were able to learn about the farm in a fun way. I think that the activity we had wasn’t the best, as we used dangerous tools and some of us got a little too excited. I also think that the bus ride to the farm could of been handled better, as we were sort of forced to sit next to people we didn’t know. This had the opposite effect of what was intended.

– Cristian Polanco, Friends of the Highline


“The tour around the farm was fun, as we got to see many animals that we enjoyed, and the hayride was fun and we all seemed to have enjoyed it.”

– Diego Santos, Friends of the Highline

Craft day was an enjoyable experience that amazed me as soon as we got on the bus. Mainly since I never thought it was possible to build and maintain a farm in New York. Not to mention having it include over a dozen chickens, horses and alpacas. Especially since I have never seen an alpaca in real life. The only negatives were really just the long bus ride and lunch. I was confused on when we were allowed to eat it and found out that it wasn’t in the schedule. But all in all I had fun and I’m glad I could take part in this.

– Darnell Maxwell, Friends of the Highline



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