Cultivating critical and food justice dimensions of youth food programs:
Lessons learned in the kitchen and the garden
Keywords:food literacy, critical food literacy, food justice, youth, community food programs, food politics
In this article we present accounts of two youth food programs operating at a Community Food Centre. One program, Kids Club, engages children, aged 6 to 12, in cooking and gardening activities; the other, Cookin' Up Justice, is directed to adolescents (13 to 18 years) and explores food justice concepts through experiential group cooking. A variety of ethnographic methods including participant-observation, semi-structured interviews, focus group and photovoice discussions done with youth participants and parents are used to document how the food programs incorporate innovative aspects of Critical Food Literacy and Food Justice. We address the successes, challenges, and opportunities in delivering youth food programs that incorporate both the “practical” and “political” dimensions of Food Literacy and Critical Food Literacy with particular attention to food politics that arise when working with racialized, newcomer participants living in a lower socioeconomic neighbourhood. We also discuss the challenges and opportunities in doing food programming with the adolescent demographic. We recommend that community food programs incorporate an analysis of the cultural, racialized, class, and gendered aspects of their staff and participants into the Critical Food Literacy and Food Justice dimensions of their programs to promote anti-racist and inclusive program design and facilitation.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Tina Moffat, Sarah Oresnik, Amy Angelo, Hanine Chami, Krista D'aoust, Sarah Elshahat, Yu Jia Guo
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