There are great opportunities to get involved in food and agriculture issues for Earth Day this year, but the opportunities don’t end on April 22nd. Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is this coming weekend (April 26-28), and participating in this event is a great way to maintain momentum on food and agriculture issues after a weekend of exciting Earth Day activities.
GYSD encourages participants to celebrate the young people in their life, serve their communities with at least one small act of kindness, and share their belief in the power of youth. This is especially important in agriculture, where the average age of farmers is rising across industrialized countries, and many people around the world think of farming as a career for those with no other opportunities. In the United States, where GYSD was founded by Youth Service America in 2000, fewer than 25 percent of farmers are under the age of 45, and less than 2 percent of children eat enough fruits and vegetables for a healthy diet.
The GYSD website features weekend project ideas covering six main issues: health, the environment, education, hunger, community-building, and human rights. These ideas include starting a Meatless Monday campaign, which can help families reduce their environmental footprint and get more nutritious vegetables into weekly menus, and collecting food donations with Move for Hunger, which provides collection boxes and fliers, and can even help pick up and deliver donations.
A great way to get started on all six issues is to plant a community garden, which can bring more local organic produce into people’s diets, engage children in learning about food and agriculture issues, and bring people of all ages together to learn from and support each other. Planting community gardens during the weekend of April 26-28 is also a great way to keep action on food and agriculture going throughout the year. These can contribute to a major harvest that can be donated to food banks or other community organizations around Food Day, on October 24th.
Check back every day this week as Food Tank highlights more stories about young people making a difference in the future of food and agriculture.