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2023 Youth Food Champion Award Winners (seated) receive recognition and pose with staff and members of the Good Food Council of Lewiston-Auburn, elected officials, and event sponsors at “Young Mainers Efforts for Food & Climate Justice” workshop at the annual Bates College MLK Jr Day event on January 15th, 2024. From L to R (seated): Odivio Mariano of Lewiston, Isha Kasai of Lewiston, Houda Aden of Lewiston, and Brayden Nadeau of Auburn; From L to R (standing): Kate & Zoe Webber (GFCLA); Erica Dostie (Austin Associates), Carl Sheline (Mayor of Lewiston), Jeff Newell (GFCLA), Eric Fleischmann (GFCLA), and Julia Harper (GFCLA).

On January 15th The Good Food Council of Lewiston-Auburn (GFCLA) was honored to award the 2023 ‘Youth Food Champion Award’ winners at the Bates College MLK Day workshop “Young Mainers’ Efforts for Food and Climate Justice.” The event also included a talk on Food Sovereignty and Youth Activism from Scarlet Labbé-Watson from Maine Youth for Climate Justice.

The Youth Food Champion Awards are hosted annually by the GFCLA to celebrate the unique contributions of up to five individuals or groups from the greater Lewiston-Auburn area who ‘lead by example’ within one, or more, of the five principles of the LA Community Food Charter to create a more vibrant and healthy local food system from farm-to-fork. In 2023, the Awards—sponsored by Bangor Savings Bank, Double Z Land & Livestock, St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, and Austin Associates —honor and celebrate five individual youth and youth groups, ages 11-25, in Androscoggin County. Winners were selected from among nominations made by the public on the GFCLA website this spring.  The following are the 2023 ‘Youth Food Champion Award’ winners:

In addition to a physical award, each winner received a $100 Buoy Local Card from Bangor Savings Bank, a $50 Gift Card to OTTO Pizza Auburn, and movie passes to Flagship Cinemas.

The LA Community Food Charter was launched in 2016 as a way to highlight the community’s food values, build greater awareness and support for a more vibrant local food system, as well as provide a framework for discussion by community members and policy-makers. The LA Food Charter was the first of its kind in the State of Maine, and since its creation, two additional Maine communities have created their own:  Western Foothills Community Food Charter and Knox County Food Charter.  The cities of Auburn and Lewiston have endorsed the LA Food Charter, as have over 300 individuals, businesses, and organizations.  Anyone interested is encouraged to sign the LA Food Charter on the GFCLA website to demonstrate their own support for, and commitment to, a healthy and sustainable local food system from farm-to-fork.

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