(Brooklyn, NY) — Today, Teens for Food Justice (TFFJ) announced that Ramel Bradley, a former professional basketball player, now activist and sustainable urban agriculture and food equity champion, is joining their Board of Directors. The announcement was made at the Urban Assembly Unison School, located in the building where Bradley attended middle school, and the site of TFFJ’s longest operating farm.
While Bradley achieved tremendous success playing basketball at the University of Kentucky and, globally, at the professional level, he was also focussed on identifying opportunities to empower his community back home in Brooklyn, specifically utilizing his degree in Agriculture, Food & Environment to advocate for food justice and re-establish his neighborhood’s food pantry. Bradley also helped to found AppHarvest, a sustainable food producer developing and operating some of the world’s largest high-tech indoor farms with robotics and artificial intelligence to build a reliable, climate-resilient food system . He also serves on the Kentucky State Board of Agriculture and serves on the Ag Tech Task Force, a coalition of 20 organizations in the US and the Netherlands focussed on developing Kentucky’s agricultural technology sector. He will further capitalize his mission through his partnership with Teens for Food Justice.
“It feels surreal, but also so right to be back at my old middle school seeing kids from the neighborhood I grew up in, taking up the mantle and fighting back against food inequity. My mission has been to ensure people like me, who live in communities like mine, have access to nutritious food and understand the power they have to push for change. Teens For Food Justice is giving students and, by extension, entire communities, the tools they need to be fully empowered. I’m honored to join their Board of Directors and I’m excited to get to work,” Ramel Bradley said.
To celebrate the announcement, TFFJ students showed Bradley around their farm before they distributed fresh produce to community members in need.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ramel to the Teens for Food Justice team,” said CEO and Co-Founder of Teens For Food Justice, Katherine Soll. “His work as an activist and community leader is central to the spirit of TFFJ. Ramel’s expertise and energy will fuel our work empowering a new generation to envision and build a sustainable, healthy food system for our future and to build access to nutritious foods and healthy outcomes where those are most needed today.”
The hydroponic farm at Unison is TFFJ’s longest operating farm. The farm is central to the middle school’s Career and Technical Education Exploration Program, which prepares students to access a wide range of high-wage, high-demand 21st-century careers, including careers in hydroponics. The farm serves as a pilot program at the school, which is slated to build a large greenhouse located in an interior courtyard that will house a high-capacity hydroponic farm that will increase production at this site 10-fold and serve multiple nearby schools by 2025.
“The Teens for Food Justice program has been such a bright spot in our school’s history, not only for how it activates our students and gets them more involved in their community, but also for teaching our students a set of skills that set them up for success in the 21st Century. When they graduate from our school, they’re leaving with a host of knowledge and skills that will open doors to careers they may not have ever imagined before working on the farm.” UA Unison School Principal Emily Paige said.
About Teens for Food Justice
Teens for Food Justice (TFFJ) is building a food-secure future through school-based, youth-led hydroponic farming. We work to make fresh, healthy food available wherever it is needed and to end the cycle of diet-related disease and poor health outcomes disproportionately impacting under-resourced communities of color.
TFFJ students are empowered as 21st-century farmers, growing up to 10,000 pounds (per school) of hydroponic produce inside their Title I schools. 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. Through the program, students are empowered to become educators, mentors, and advocates who are working to build equitable food systems and guide their communities towards healthier, food-secure futures.
We currently operate high-capacity hydroponic farms in schools in communities experiencing low healthy food access across New York City and in Denver, Colorado. Our impact today includes 6 farms, 19 participating schools, 7,500 students fed, and 45,000 pounds of produce grown for students and their communities. TFFJ’s expansion in New York and beyond will foster a new generation of food justice advocates and bring our total anticipated impact to 13,000 students fed and 110,000 lbs of produce grown nationally in just a few short years.