OLYMPIA, WA — Youth from the Northwest Youth Garden Network (NWYGN) are hard at work planning the 6th annual Rooted In Community (RIC) Conference. This year’s national conference will be held at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA from July 15-18. Conference organizers expect more than 200 youth and adults from across the country to attend. The goal of the RIC Conference and the RIC Network is to develop youth leadership by building an organized, informed and empowered movement of youth and adults who are committed to growing healthy, safe and accessible food on a local and national level.
Jennie Murray, one of the teens organizing the RIC conference, said “The youth need to make our voices heard, and that is what this conference is for. The youth are coming together to make our futures better. I really believe in trying to keep our world healthy, which means our generation needs to care about our future. We need to have a sustainable food system that is healthy [and] we need to start now with the youth.”
The youth planning the RIC conference have been working hard to coordinate every element of the RIC conference from engaging workshops to fresh local meals. Youth members of NWYGN have been attending workshops and conferences to learn how to better their own conference. In April two youth participated in the Kellogg Foundation’s Food & Society Conference in Lake Tahoe. Both youth came back fired up by the information they learned on childhood obesity and malnutrition in the United States.
The Rooted In Community (RIC) Network was founded in 1998 by The Food Project and the American Community Gardening Association (ACGA). RIC is a project of the Earth Island Institute with funding from the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation. The 2004 RIC Conference is being made possible through the contributions of the Paul G. Allen Foundation, the Edwards Mother Earth Foundation, the Mannix Canby Foundation, and the ACGA.
About the Northwest Youth Garden Network
NWYGN was started in the fall of 2002 when three agriculture-based empowerment organizations came together to begin a conversation about youth leadership, and the surrounding issues of hunger and poverty in the Northwest. Its goal is to promote youth leadership in developing a just and sustainable food system. The founding organizations are Seattle Youth Garden Works (SYGW), Garden-Raised Bounty (GRuB) of Olympia, WA and Guadalupe Gardens of Tacoma, WA. Each organization creates opportunities for youth-in-need to gain knowledge, employment, and leadership.