Meet Our Food Policy Council Youth

By: Kristen Janson

Meet Dillon and Lamar, the Food Policy Council's two youngest members. As one of MAP's interns, I was fortunate enough to have a chance to interview them and pick their brains about their experiences so far. To read more about what the Food Policy Council is all about, click here to read one of MAP's youth employee's report of the Council.  

How did you guys hear about the Food Policy Council (FPC), and what made you want to get involved?

Dillon (D). There was only one spot on the FPC originally, and Bekah asked me to take the position. I didn’t want to at first, I was afraid that I would have to lead meetings on my own. There was also discussion around starting a Youth Food Policy Council, and whoever sat on the adult FPC would serve as a liaison between the two. Bekah and I talked more though, and she encouraged me to write a letter to the steering committee for the FPC, asking if there could be two youth seats on the council so that it would be less intimidating for us, which ended up working. The Youth FPC hasn’t come together yet, so once Lamar agreed to join the FPC with me, I decided to go ahead with it.

Lamar (L). I heard about the FPC from being a member of the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Youth Advisers Council. Dillon started coming to our YAC meetings where we were beginning to talk about improving school lunches, and joining the FPC seemed like a good fit. I applied and got the position.

What was the application process like?
D. I didn’t have to apply; Bekah had already recommended me to the position.

L. It was a lot like a college application; I had to answer questions about myself, and provide letters of recommendation and references.

What do you both feel like you can bring to the FPC?
D. I feel like I can provide a helpful youth perspective, because I am a student in the Buffalo Public School system and am the one currently eating school lunches. I feel like I have a vested interest in food policy at the school level.

L. I also feel like I can bring the youth perspective and provide similar insight into school lunches. In addition, I have experience with urban farming from my work with MAP and with policy work from my involvement in the YAC.

How has your experience with the FPC been so far? What are you guys up to?
L. So far we have had three meetings. We have been working on strategic planning and have decided on what kind of structure we want our meetings to have.

D. We have also brainstormed the types of committees and subcommittees/working groups we will form once we have some direction. They are, “Awareness and Education,” “Policy,” and “Advocacy and Justice”.

Where do you guys see yourselves fitting in to these committees?

D. I could see myself contributing to the “Awareness and Education” committee thanks to my work with MAP.

L. I could see myself fitting in to any of the committees really, I feel like I have a decent amount of experience with each of those areas; I haven’t decided on one yet.

Does the FPC have a mission statement yet?

D + L. We do, but we don’t remember the wording exactly. It has a lot of important buzzwords and is something along the lines of "seeking to strengthen and educate the community about regional food systems by raising awareness and advocating".

Do you guys feel intimidated by the being the youngest members of the FPC? Do you feel like you’ll be able to contribute?
D + L. It has been a little uncomfortable at these first couple of meetings only because we don’t have a lot of experience with making decisions about meeting structure and things like that. But we feel like once the council starts talking more about projects it will work on and the type of work it will do, we will have more to say. We are both excited to provide our perspectives and insight with the group, and really feel like we have a good chance to make a difference here.

1 comment:

Abigail B. said...

Hooray Dillon and Lamar! Also hooray Growing Green people in general. I miss you all. Keep up the good work y'all. -- Abby [aka sarcastic Abby who is not sarcastic in this comment]