Open Access Senior Thesis
© 2011 Samuel Lewis
YEC’s main goal was to open dialogue with high school students from under resourced communities about environmental injustices and to create and explore positive alternatives. The summer program, which was funded by the 2010 Davis Projects for Peace and the Pomona College Summer Undergraduate Research Project Award, included a group of 11 high school students from Pomona, Montclair, La Puente, and Chino Hills, CA. The students were paid to participate in the program for 6 weeks in the summer of 2010, five days a week, for 30 hours each week. The program was designed to consistently connect movements for food and environmental justice with the farming work that we did. Priscilla Bassett and I led this program in partnership. Priscilla is a student at Scripps College, where she pursues a major in Environmental Analysis with a focus on race, class, and gender. This paper includes many sections. First, it briefly outlines and defines environmental injustice, food injustice, the industrial food system, the Inland Empire, and systems of domination and oppression as issues which motivated the creation of YEC. I then discuss my positionality as a white, class privileged, educated, man working with Priscilla, a black woman, and predominantly first generation low-income high school students of color. After this, I discuss how and why the work of bell hooks, Pablo Freire, and the Food Project was influential as Priscilla and I formed a teaching style. Then, I briefly I talk about the grant writing process for YEC and I outline the process by which Priscilla and I recruited and selected the interns we worked with. I summarize the program’s activities day by and then include responses to surveys which the YEC interns completed on a weekly basis. I use the results of these surveys to suggest that experiential urban farming programs at the high school level can connect high school students with issues of environmentalism and social justice and can motivate them to take action against the industrial food system and the environmental injustices they see and experience around them.
Lewis, Samuel, "Cultivating Youth Earth Connections Summer Internship Program (YEC): A Hands-on Environmental Justice Focused Farming Program at the High School Level" (2011). Pomona Senior Theses. 115.