On November 16th, 19 high school students from Park, Gallatin, Madison and surrounding counties gathered at the Livingston Food Resource Center for the 2015 Growing Leaders Youth Summit to share knowledge about and build leadership in sustainable agriculture and healthy local food systems. Gallatin Valley Farm to School was delighted to be a partner organization and sponsor of the event as well as a chaperone for two Bozeman High School students. Senior BHS student Hannah McWhorter wrote the following piece summarizing her experience at the youth summit and how she is partnering with GVF2S to bring about change in our community’s food system:
“Going to the Growing Leaders Youth Summit was a very meaningful experience. While there, I learned valuable leadership skills and how high school students like me can change our communities using our knowledge of food. We began the day with presentations about what characterizes a good leader, and later moved on to touring establishments which meet Livingston’s food needs with local produce. We witnessed the impact of aquaponics in a Livingston elementary school, where food for school lunches is grown right next door in the same greenhouse where science classes learn about nature. We also saw a commercial aquaponics system, which inspired me to experiment with aquaponics in my own home and educate my fellow high school students about how they can also take charge of their food.
One way I am using the skills I learned during the Youth Summit to improve the food in my community is by leading Harvest of the Month lessons with Gallatin Valley Farm to School once a month in the after school program at Meadowlark Elementary School. In November we celebrated apples, and this month our activities will focus on winter squash! In doing this, I hope to incite in young students the same passion that the Youth Summit fostered in me. This day of learning with people who share my enthusiasm and drive was invaluable to me, as it inspired me to change my own community with the skills I learned.”