I’ve written before about kids making an impact on their food communities through documenting the poor quality of their school lunches or taking the CEO of McDonalds to task over unhealthy choices, and a 9-year-old getting suspended for photographing school lunches. But the stories just keep coming of kids stepping up where adults can’t (or won’t) and making a difference, like these of an 11-year-old spreading the word about organic farming, and a 13-year-old solving hunger one banana at a time.
Take Birke Baehr, for example (shown above with organic farming guru Joel Salatin). At the tender age of 11, he decided that he didn’t want to be a professional football player when he grew up any more, he wanted to be an organic farmer. He made the decision after learning about all the problems with the food we eat as Americans.
In fact, he became so passionate about it that, in 2010, he got on stage at TEDxAshville to talk about his transformation.
And he didn’t stop there. Now 14 years old, Birke has published a children’s book called Birke on the Farm and is keeping up his schedule of speaking engagements around the world. Presumably, he will start farming when he’s tall enough to drive a tractor.
Another teenage food fighter, 13-year-old McKenna Greenleaf Faulk took a school assignment to identify a community problem and solve it quite seriously. She chose hunger, a notoriously difficult issue, but quickly came up with a project to help her community.
“There was all of this unwanted food lying on the [cafeteria] table, and we thought why not take that and give it to someone who needs it, like to the homeless people in the neighborhood who may want it,” she told TakePart.com.
After researching the issue, she discovered that teens in the Los Angeles Unified School District had tried something similar and ultimately been sued when a homeless man became ill after eating improperly stored food.
Did that deter her? No it did not.
“I said, ‘How about a refrigerator?’” Can you say, “duh?”
McKenna cut through the school district’s red tape, raised money for a refrigerator, and started her program called 37 Degrees From Hunger—because 37 degrees Farenheit is the ideal temperature for storing food. The program collects unopened food from the cafeteria, like milk, bananas, and even pizza, and sends it to local homeless shelters.
“Americans don’t have a food culture because we eat everything,” she says. “We just eat and eat, and we take more than we can handle. We aren’t even grateful for the food that we have, and this extra food could be given to other people who are grateful for it. People who are less fortunate could use this food.”
Photo Credit: BirkeontheFarm.com