Food Day Youth Summit

Food Day Youth Summit

The third biennial North Country Food Day Youth Summit was held October 22, 2015

This day of workshops, networking and action planning for high school students from across the North Country region focused on important food issues like diet and health, sustainable agriculture, hunger in our communities, and junk food marketing to kids.


Canton students meet with Assemblywoman Addie Russell

Students from Canton's McKenney Middle School took part in the 2015 North Country Food Day Youth Summit and are working on a project to bring locally grown food into their school cafeteria. The students took part in a roundtable with Assemblywoman Addie Russell on farm-to-school programs and here is a compilation of the students' statements and a photo from the meeting.  Another student's statement can be found here.


Highlights of the Action Plans created by schools that attended:

Gouverneur Central SchoolThe Gouverneur group is hoping to “increase awareness of little known healthy foods” within the student body, the vision being that students will begin to try and enjoy these foods in the cafeteria. They are hoping to partner with other existing school clubs as well as recruit younger students in order to make their club sustainable. They will start offering tastings, with the hopes of having two taste tests before January 25th this year and will assess its success through a lunchtime survey. They anticipate moving from the elementary school to middle and high school in this school year.

Ogdensburg City School District - Ogdensburg would like to foster knowledge of the origins of good food as well as the nutritional value of food by forming a school garden. They want the produce from this garden to be used in the school lunches as well as cafeteria taste tests. By December 1st they are hoping to have secured financial support from local businesses, school clubs, grants and school faculty events. They are also hoping at this time to have gained club support as well as find containers for their beds. By spring they are looking to have a location approved for the project. 

North Country School - North Country school is interested in creating a poll amongst students to learn their meal preferences, which will hopefully nurture conversations in the kitchen about what meals are prepared and served. Through this they are hoping to reduce food waste.

Northwest Technical School - Northwest Tech wants to “educated others on how to grow food” that stimulate the brain. They plan to reach out to the community co-op and learn what healthy food they should be growing and begin planting in raised bed, which they will construct in the winter and plant next spring for a fall harvest. They will conduct a student taste test out of the foods once they have been grown and processed. They hope to attract more active members in order to keep the project going.

Morristown Central SchoolMorristown would like to start a school produce and herb garden. They hope that students can get involved on the food committee as well as begin to perform taste tests and surveys in their school as well. They hope to start a team and meet by the end of the November and plan the garden by mid February. They plan to include students, parents, custodians, and teachers in the planning process and through the inclusion of diverse members of the school community hope that their efforts will sustain. They will begin fundraising by the end of the year.

LaFargeville Central SchoolLaFargeville wants to educate parents as well as students about how to prepare healthy foods and plans to host preparation and tasting workshops at the 2016 Wellness Fair. By the end of October they were hoping to have written at outline for their presentation and met with the Superintendent to discuss the project. By the end of 2015 they will have presented to the Wellness Committee by May are hoping to have gathered their materials and be ready to set up and present on the day of the fair. They expect that these sorts of actions at the Wellness Fair will continue and they will prepare for future fairs by brainstorming ideas.

Massena Central School - Massena is hoping to foster community involvement by creating a community garden and greenhouse. The greenhouse will serve, as a staging ground for seedlings and the garden will “provide fresh veggies to donate to pantries or families.” After getting the Mayor’s approval for the project they plan to jump right in looking for funding, building the greenhouse and planting their seeds. They hope that community involvement will help to maintain the project. 

Other schools attending included:  Lake Placid, Beekmantown, and Canton.


Action Planning Resources:


Farm to School

Nutrition in the Home

Taste Testing

Food Careers Pamphlet

Student Activists


See photos of the Food Day Youth Summit!


Thank you to all of our speakers and presenters!

The North Country Food Day Youth Summit is made possible with the generous support of our sponsors who include the following:

Presenting Sponsor:

Workshop Sponsors:

School Sponsors:

Friend sponsor:

Other Partners:

 Thank you to the Parishville Center Orchard who donated apples so that the students could take part in the Food Day Apple Crunch!

Thank you to the amazing volunteer planning committee who helped put this event together:  Sarah Bentley-Garfinkel, Katie  Bigness, Mike Crowe, Carlene Doane, Lauren French, Megan Smith, Heather Sullivan-Catlin, Sarah Rivers, & Tamera Rizk. Also thanks to our great student interns, Liz Hills & Anna Kowanko! You folks are amazing! Thank you to the Health Initiative for generously sharing Sarah, & for practically shutting down the whole organization for the day. Thank you also to all of the volunteers who make this possible, answering questions, getting folks in, out, & around, dressing as vegetables, & whatever is needed (in no particular order).


Interested in sponsoring a future Youth Summit?

For more information about GardenShare and about how you can help sponsor this year or a future Food Day Youth Summit, e-mail or call (315) 261-8054.


2015 is the third biennial Food Day Youth Summit.

The last Food Day Youth Summit in 2013 focused on Action Planning and sent teams home with the resources they need to make a difference in their own communities. You can see a wrap-up of the Summit here

The first Food Day Youth Summit was a great success!  On October 24, 2011, more than 200 people from around the northern New York region attended the Food Day Youth Summit organized by GardenShare. Here's an overview of that first Summit.

And here is a success story about a school garden project at Keene Central Schools