Above: image for a Youth Countermarketing Campaign Designed by Youth Educators for East Harlem

On October 27, 2016, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute held its first Youth Countermarketing Convening which brought together organizations, groups, and individuals across NYC that lead youth food justice programs and/or that are interested in creating or expanding youth food countermarketing work. Organizations represented at the meeting include: Children’s Aid Society, FoodCorps, Community Food Advocates, GrowNYC, City Harvest, Bronx Health Reach, New Settlement, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

During the meeting Nick Freudenberg, the Institute’s Director, provided an overview of countermarketing and how food countermarketing can be a useful strategy in reducing the consumption of unhealthy foods. Charita Johnson, who leads the youth countermarketing work at the Institute, discussed its Youth Food Educators (YOFE) Program’s successes, challenges, and outcomes since its launch in 2015. Group conversations highlighted opportunities for collaborating on countermarketing projects, establishing common goals for joint countermarketing work, and forming a network for organizations and individuals that are interested in food countermarketing projects. Specific interests among the group included testing countermarketing messages, developing an advocacy agenda for countermarketing, and training youth to do countermarketing work, and attendees signed up for working groups based on these topics.

Charita Johnson, Program Manager for the Youth Food Educators program, presents updates on the 2016 YOFE cohort.

Participants discuss possible countermarketing collaborations.

Institute staff are excited about the collaboration and countermarketing projects that will evolve from this and future meetings. We welcome organizations and individuals that are interested in countermarketing work to join our countermarketing network. To be added to the email list or join the collaborative, please contact Charita Johnson at Charita.Johnson@sph.cuny.edu.

In other news, the Toolkit for the YOFE program will be released on the Institute’s website in the coming weeks. It will include: program background, curriculum, a literature review that focuses on marketing to youth and countermarketing campaigns, handouts, and evaluation materials. To get a message about its release, sign-up for our mailing list.

Read our earlier brief on Lessons from Tobacco Countermarketing for Food,