For 16 years, the Green Teen program has empowered young people in Beacon to become part of the local food system. Crew members gain experience with gardening, nutrition and entrepreneurship. In this episode, program director Helanna Bratman and crew leader Jeremiah Long, who is in the 10th grade at Beacon High School, talk about the mission and the lessons of food.
“We work together. We’re part of a team. That’s the very basic thing. No matter what you do in life, you have to learn how to communicate and work with people,” Helanna says. “And also the idea of work, and meaningful work, and working hard and having a work ethic.”
Group discussions extend to larger questions of food security and social justice.
“Is food a right? Does everyone have food available to them? And if they don’t, how do they get it? We end up talking about all of these things and many more topics in young people’s lives and what’s going on in the world as we are growing food and learning about how to prepare it,” she says.
Jeremiah has seen up close the results of food insecurity.
“Not everyone can afford lunch every single day of the week and not everyone can bring a lunch because they can’t pay for their lunch,” he says. “Some kids go to sleep hungry thinking about the next morning or the next afternoon when they’re going to get their next meal from school. Personally, I knew someone that was like that and it was hard from them. They’d go through a weekend without eating.”