In the midst of today’s political turmoil, numerous California youth communities are taking action to generate community health, justice, and resilience. Through our newest program, Youth Rising, we are supporting powerful youth on the ground like the Semillas collective in Salinas, CA and Brayan Cruz in Riverside, CA to realize their dreams on the ground. These youth come from communities that suffer extreme health and education inequities but that has never stopped them from doing the work that makes them come alive. The Semillas (seeds) collective has been planting seeds of awareness and inspiration through their pop-up nutritious juice bars where they facilitate creative dialogue around issues of health and agriculture, while sharing poetry and interactive games that break the ice for strangers and build trust for deeper connection. They have started community gardens and are now offering free English classes to migrant families, where the weave health and wellness education along with “know your rights” workshops.
Bryan speaks of the harms inflicted by corporations on our food and water systems and speaks enthusiastically about the importance of saving and sharing seeds. “We can not be dependent on a system that is rooted in greed and hunger for money,” Bryan exclaims. “We are learning more about traditional seeds, saving, and are sharing them amongst our local native, Latinx, and Asian immigrant communities. We are learning so much from each other and are building collective power through our knowledge sharing and encouragement to each start our own gardens all over town.”
These projects are not just seeds anymore, they are Xinaxtli (the Nahuatl word for “explosive germinating seed of infinite potential!”) and their projects are growing in ways that will nourish the land, our communities, and the spirit in all of us.