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HAYEA Can Help Us Eat Healthy

Posted by: Theo | April 10, 2012 | No Comment |
-Theo Noomah

“Locally grown produce is healthier. It uses a lot less energy and a lot less resources because it doesn’t need to be shipped, processed, or packaged as much. The money stays in our community, a better place to put it than into a corporation.”

Sophomore, Adella Sundmark, HAYEA president, could talk for hours about local produce. She’ll get the chance to in the coming weeks when HAYEA goes to Little Fireweed Elementary to teach a unit on the benefits of locally grown food. HAYEA’s presentation will kick off the spring planting season during which Fireweed students will plant a garden with funding from a USDA grant.

HAYEA is the Homer branch of AYEA, Alaska Youth for Environmental Action, a statewide organization that,

“inspires and trains diverse youth leaders to impact environmental issues through community action projects and campaigns; skills training in leadership, environmental education, civic engagement, and community organizing; and green jobs that sustain our communities and future.” – statement and photo from ayea.org

AYEA deals with a wide range of environment related issues, from renewable energy to genetically modified fish.

In Homer, HAYEA members pick local problem that they feel passionate about, and over the year they work on a project to help address that problem. Last year they focused on the theme of ocean acidification, this year HAYEA’s theme is local food.

In addition to their educational unit, HAYEA member, and Homer High School Junior Adi Davis attended this year’s AYEA lead Civics and Conservation Summit in Juneau as a youth delegate representing Homer. During a week of March she learned about the legislative process, how bills become laws and how interest groups use lobbying to their advantage. She was assigned to a committee which researched a focus bill that was up for discussion at the time. This bill, if passed, will give schools more funding for school lunches, a portion of which would be spent on local produce.

Adi Davis and the other youth delegates underwent what she called an “insider’s guide on lobbying” and did some lobbying of their own. The Civics Summit gave Adi and other youth from around the state the chance to speak to their representatives about important environmental issues like where our food comes from, the conditions of our oceans, and the chemicals we allow in our cities.

With their efforts, perhaps Homer High School will see healthier school lunches on tables and incoming students who are more conscious and experienced with healthy, locally grown food.

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