Food Youth Initiative 2017-04-17T12:23:04+00:00


Food Youth Initiative

April 2017: REGISTER HERE for the 2017 Rooted in Community Youth Summit, July 19-23 in Greensboro NC!

fyi-chartThe Food Youth Initiative (FYI) is a project housed at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) with support from a number of community partners.

The FYI Youth are a collective of youth representatives (high school, continuing GED and recent grads) and their youth organizers from groups across the state who are already working towards some aspect of food justice in their own communities. FYI youth envision and support the advancement of a just food system.

Food Youth Initiative works with the belief and knowledge that youth are already doing amazing work; they are not only future leaders but current change-makers. The FYI network is designed to build relationships across organizations that are already doing food justice organizing work in their own communities across North Carolina.

In addition to supporting youth through local trainings and capacity building throughout the year, FYI hosts a summer gathering for our core youth groups in an effort to:


  • Train the trainers, supporting youth in passing forward their justice, agriculture, and food system knowledge
  • Connect youth, build relationships, and break down the barriers of isolation that impacts especially youth living in rural areas
  • Amplify youth voices through tools that strengthen their advocacy efforts
  • Facilitate professional development and career goals related to food systems and social justice

Food Youth Initiative is also invested in connecting youth organizers and those dedicated to supporting youth to think through intergenerational design, knowing that youth need adults and adults need youth in making community change. We seek to form networks of youth and adults that empower young people and bring them to the table as respected co-creaters of justice work in food systems. Towards this end, we also host an annual adult caucus day to help support adults in their work with youth.

Core Youth Groups

Early development Partners

FYI was developed over a three year period, 2010-2012, with the support of many youth groups and organizations:

  • Interfaith Food Shuttle (Raleigh)
  • Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!), Charlotte and Asheville
  • 4H
  • CORE (Charlotte)
  • Old Zion Wesleyan Food Ministry (Columbus County)

Food Youth Initiative News

Center for Environmental Farming Systems’ Food Youth Initiative Wins NC State University’s Opal Mann Green Engagement Award

August 9, 2016: For Immediate Release Media Contact: Tes Thraves, CEFS Youth and Community-Based Food Systems Coordinator, or 919-619-8897 Raleigh, NC:  The Center for Environmental Farming Systems’ Food Youth Initiative (FYI) has been awarded the [...]

Food as Community Change: North Carolina Youth are Local Food Heroes

During CEFS’ recent Farm to Fork Picnic Weekend, CEFS awarded its very first Local Food Heroes Awards. Reflecting the youth focus of this year’s Farm to Fork Picnic Weekend, honorees are all youth and their youth organizers who work in partnership with CEFS.