2012’s been quite a year!  Perhaps most notably, this is the first year since the founding of the U.S. that 'babies of color' outnumbered White babies.  
But it’s no joke that half of those babies will develop diabetes.  That they have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.    That the diet-related diseases among young people of color are both a symptom of and a contributor to a broken
economy: one that values profit more than the lives of people or the planet.

The mainstream media will tell you it's their poor food choices.  It will tell you that all teenagers care about is the newest video game and and Justin Bieber.  
It will tell you that teenagers are lazy, violent, selfish, ignorant.

We know that this isn’t true.  We see their promise every day, and we’re inspired.

Thousands of young people are stepping into their power, transforming local food systems at school, on urban farms, and in their own kitchens. 

  • Matt learned about nutrition because his Mom got sick; now he’s a leader with Philadelphia’s Urban Nutrition Initiative.
  • Salvador started cooking for his siblings after his parents got deported; now he runs EAT GRUB with Oakland’s Planting Justice.
  • Celeste joined Bring Healthy Back in February, to give up junk food for one month. She kept at it, and today, she's cooking healthy meals for her family.
These young people and their peers are courageous, compassionate, and committed.  They are leading their communities today, and they are our hope for a resilient, just, vibrant future.

We believe in them, and we need you to believe in us.  At Live Real, we're dreaming up new programs to lift up their leadership, to help build their power, to make sure their voices are heard:  
  • training for Real Food Ninjas to understand the political economy of food, and organize their own communities for real change
  • Youth Media Crew who use art, culture, and new media to tell their own stories and engage their peers in change
  • policy campaigns that demonstrate our collective power and transform our lives for now and for generations to come.
Please join us, and help make our dreams come true.    

Live Real for Life! 

Navina Khanna
tw: @liverealnoworg

The following testimony was one of many from youth present at the Farm Bill Listening Session hosted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture at the Fresno County Farm Bureau.

My name is Carmina Gomez and I am a Food and Freedom Rider from East Los Angeles. I am a recent graduate from USC and I am currently working for a non-profit, called Alliance for a Better doing health policy. We are trying to increase physical activity and healthy food access in low income communities in Los Angeles.

I grew up in a community with a high-density of fast-food restaurants, in an area with more convenience and liquor stores than supermarkets, and witnessed the rise of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure rates, especially among the youth. 

Over the summer as a McNair Scholar, I conducted my own research on farmers' markets in South Los Angeles and their effect on fruit and vegetable intake. My key findings show that families feel farmers' markets are helping them increase their fruit and vegetable intake and their children enjoy the rich, sweet fruit and eat more fruits and vegetables. Families understand why prices are so high at farmers' markets, but wish they had more help to purchase at farmers' markets more often and would like farmers' markets to be open more than once a week. For this reason, an increase on food stamps and WIC vouchers that could be used for fruits and vegetables at farmers' markets is a key gateway to help low-income communities have a healthier diet and increase their fruit and vegetable intake.

As an advocate for healthy food access in low-income communities, I dream that communities like the one I grew up in have access to rich, fresh, and healthy food to nourish our bodies. I want more resources like subsidies to fund farmers' markets, restaurants, and supermarkets, and schools in low-income communities to help them provide affordable fruits and vegetables and live, real food so that families like mine can access quality, healthy food. 

Thank you for your time.