project leader
Alexandra S
Forest Avenue
(Mariners Harbor)
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the project

Forest Ave Youth is a semester-long program for 12 - 15 high school students of color that introduces them to the skills, framework, and exposure needed to become socially-conscious, uniquely skilled, and regenerative leaders who transform neighborhood culture through their local food system. Due to the lack of unique opportunities that exist for low-income youth of color and our commitment to investing in local and intergenerational knowledge, we are prioritizing youth who live in the following communities in the North Shore: Mariners Harbor, Arlington, Port Richmond, and Graniteville.

Throughout the six-month program, students will have the opportunity to:

  • Attend self-exploration workshops that explore themes of power, identity, privilege, and community healing 
  • Choose 1 - 2 skill-building activities in cooking and nutrition, farming, community organizing, or digital activism & storytelling to prepare them for future careers in the food justice sector and teach important life-skills
  • Build meaningful connections with leaders and activists in Staten Island who are trailblazers in their communities for future employment opportunities
  • Enjoy field trips to community gardens, mutual aid spaces, and other sites of interest to gain exposure to take them outside of their comfort zone and expand their perspective 
  • Lead and develop a food market on Forest Avenue that addresses the root cause of food insecurity and provides access to healthy food

With the money raised, we will be able to feed students on citywide field trips and day-conferences and cover workshop material costs for farming, cooking, and media-related activities. We want students to be able to own the materials they use during these activities so that they can continue their passions even after the internship is over. We will use majority of the money raised to go towards the final project students will create. This project will be primarily led by students with the following goals 1) provide the community with access to free healthy food 2) create a space of connection, reciprocal giving, and knowledge/skill sharing around healthy food 3) creatively build upon or challenge the existing neighborhood culture. Lastly, we'll be able to use a portion of the funds to hire local leaders and invest in Staten Island's emerging and untapped food justice network - we intend to pay local farmers, chefs, artists, and educators a modest but equitable stipend as they invest in the next generation of local leaders in food justice.

the steps

December 2022 - This month is dedicated to purchasing all of the workshop and skill-building materials and supplies, developing operational and workflow systems for the internship through a digital platform, setting up invoices for facilitators, and solidifying field trips and site visits. 

January 2023 - We'll cover how food is tied to systems of inequality and our family's socioeconomic background/heritage. Since it's the start of the internship, we will do a lot of cohort building activities and self-exploration workshops to get students to reflect on their identity, goals for the internship, and whether they want to focus on building skills in farming, cooking, or digital activism for the next 3 months. 

February 2023 - We will explore food culture, seasonal eating, and sustainable cooking. Students will participate in hands-on cooking demonstrations with community chefs and learn cooking techniques. Students will end this month with a pot-luck and be given a small-fund to purchase in-season produce.

March 2023 - This month is dedicated to taking 5 field trips to local gardens in Staten Island and across New York City. Students will also participate in a day-conference during this time.

April 2023 - Students will learn about gardening, composting, and rainwater catching systems in an urban farm. They will be given beginner farming tools, soil, trays, seeds, and pots so that they can continue nurturing their seedlings at home.

May 2023 - This will be our busiest month and where most of the funds raised will go into. We will use the money raised to create a youth-led food market on Forest Avenue, which will be the first of its kind in the North Shore and on Staten Island. The event will distribute healthy food to the neighborhood and hold workshops and food demonstrations they can participate in. We also intend to rent a shuttle to pick up elderly residents and people with disabilities who normally do not have access to these markets.

why we're doing it

When the world shut down, like it did with the pandemic, people did not stop - they came together. They started community fridges, created mutual aid groups, grew gardens, and cared for their neighbors needs. Our aim is to build upon the success of community fridges and mutual aid groups and extend it to the next generation. The need has become stronger to build new programs in Staten Island that are youth and neighborhood focused, outside of systems and institutions that have addressed parts of the problem but not its entirety. This project comes as a direct response to mobilize and build a local coalition of leaders, farmers, social entrepreneurs, artists, change-makers (and more!) who have developed a consciousness around investing in the preservation, restoration, healing, and liberation in their neighborhood. We do not want the work to just stop with us or exist for a moment; we desire to build the next generation of food justice leaders of color in Staten Island who will transform their community and beyond. 



  • Internship supplies for students - $300.00
  • Produce and condiments for cooking demonstrations in community and in classes- $500
  • Culminating event costs (table and chair rental, flyers, produce for community with tote bags, workshop supplies, community engagement activities, fresh produce) - $4,500
  • Administrative fees (notebooks, chart paper, pens, marker, zoom account, etc.) - $200
  • Food for 6 field trips - $500.00
  • Facilitator fees, labor, and travel costs  - $1,000.00

ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $380
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)

Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.


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  • Madisyn R.
  • Matthew B.