A photo taken of the Growing Justice project by Suraya Arslan, CAN’s Executive and Programs Coordinator, is one of the winners of the Johns Hopkins University Food Policy Networks 2nd annual photo contest.

The photo contest challenged the public to show what food policy looks like in action. One photo could be submitted in each of the following categories per entrant: Equity, Advocacy, and Collaboration. Suraya entered her photo as an example of equity: creating equal opportunity and fair access for all to define the problem and shape the policy solution for a more inclusive and stronger food system. The photos were judged and scored based on quality, creativity/originality, communication of contest theme, and overall impact. Suraya’s photograph was awarded second place.

The winning photographs will become part of an open-access database for use by food policy practitioners and will be displayed on the JHU Food Policy Networks website.

Photo Caption: Community Agroecology Network (CAN), students in the University of California, Santa Cruz Visual Sociology lab (UCSC), Mesa Verde Garden gardeners, and Watsonville community members gather to discuss producing a collaboratively-authored documentary film about community gardens, migration, and urban belonging. In the center of the photo, Don Ines, a Mesa Verde Gardens peer-leader, who worked alongside Caesar Chavez and is still involved with the United Farm Workers, shares his stories with the group about organizing for farmworkers’ rights in the late 1960s and his work today. The community decided to make the film. Seven UCSC students from the video production lab teamed up with CAN’s “Growing Justice” project and produced “The River Park Garden Video Collective” film, which screened at a conference at UCSC and during the 6th annual International Youth Exchange for Food Security and Food Sovereignty in Nicaragua; and can be viewed on the CAN website.

The River Park Garden in Watsonville, California is one of the Mesa Verde Gardens community gardens. The aim of the garden is to empower young people and their families, primarily latino/a immigrants employed in the food system sector) to be agents of food systems change in their communities. CAN’s work with youth through the “Growing Justice” project is raise the voices of youth to advocate for food systems change to improve the overall well-being of their community.