Academy Award Winner Ariana DeBose Helps NYC non-profit Teens for Food Justice Raise over $900,000 at its 10th Anniversary Gala

November 3, 2023

By Social Life | November 1, 2023

2023 Gala honored Randy Stern and Alyssa Gardner-Vazquez for their support of TFFJ’s Transformational Work to End Food Insecurity

The Teens for Food Justice (TFFJ) 2023 Gala was held at the Lighthouse at Pier 61, Chelsea Piers in New York City, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the organization and support its ongoing efforts to make fresh food more accessible and improve nutritional health within New York City and Denver’s low-income communities through school-based, youth-led hydroponic farming.

The Gala featured artist and Emcee Ariana DeBose and celebrity chef Melba Wilson.  The Honorees at the 2023 Gala were Randy Stern (Teens for Food Justice Champion) and Alyssa Gardner-Vazquez (Distinguished TFFJ Alumna). The auction and fundraising was conducted by C K Swett.

Students construct the hydroponic farms and grow the crops as part of their STEM classes. Each farm can produce up to 10,000lbs of fresh produce per year.  As one TFFJ farmer puts it, “Healthy eating should be a right”.  TFFJ’s target by the end of 2024 is to operate 10 farms involving 26 schools and feeding some 13,000 students. The 2023 Gala raised almost $950,000 and counting.

Notable attendees included: Ariana DeBose, Melba Wilson, Randy Stern, Alyssa Gardner-Vazquez, Katherine Soll, Tara Swibel, Erich Bergen, Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, Alisha Antonetti, Sanniyah Watson, Namar Antoine.

About Teens for Food Justice (TFFJ):

Teens for Food Justice (TFFJ) operates high-capacity hydroponic farms on six school campuses across four New York City boroughs and in Denver, Colorado.

TFFJ students use real-world 21st-century science and technology to grow up to 10,000 pounds (per school) of hydroponic produce annually. Through the program, TFFJ’s young farmers develop a meaningful solution to food insecurity, transform their relationship with the food they eat, and develop cutting-edge STEM skills needed in a new green sector economy. For more information, please visit

I: @ teensforfoodjustice | F: teensforfoodjustice | X / T: @tffjinitiative

PRESS CONTACT (Teens for Food Justice):

Norah Lawlor | Lawlor Media Group | | Tel: (212) 967-6900

I: @lawlormedia | F: LawlorMediaGroup | X / T: @LawlorMedia

Find the original piece on Social Life Magazine.

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