You’re reading Young & Green, the new group blog written by participants of Grow NYC’s Youthmarket, a network of urban farm stands operated by neighborhood youth and supplied by local farmers, bringing fresh fruits and veggies to communities throughout NYC. Pretty cool, huh?
THIS WEEK'S MARKET SUPERSTAR: GABRIEL DANIEL CAMEJO ("DANNY"), AGE 19
Along with Phylisha, Danny was one of the Youthmarket staffers who traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina, to help run the HOMEGROWN Youthmarket farm stand at Farm Aid 2014. At a concert featuring performances by Jack White and Gary Clark Jr., the thing that made the biggest impression on Danny was the grapes. “They’re my favorite fruit,” he writes. “The two most common types of grapes in North Carolina are muscadine and scuppernong. Muscadine was my favorite.”
If that’s not proof enough he appreciates good food, here’s what else Danny had to say about Farm Aid 2014: “I am thankful to my bosses and coworkers for letting me share such an experience with them. I really enjoyed it to the fullest, and I am happy to help Youthmarket spread and become nationwide. I would love to share more with those who gave me the opportunity to grow and be where I am now.”
More Youthmarkets sounds like a good goal to us! In the meantime, Danny shares more of what he’s learned, below.
How long have you worked for Youthmarket?
I have worked for the Youthmarket for three seasons, at Seaport Youthmarket, Riverdale Youthmarket, Kensington Youthmarket, and Learn It Grow It Eat It Youthmarket.
Has the market changed what you eat? How?
Indeed. Working at the market has made me realize how important it is for me, as an individual, to have appropriate nutrition. It has made me think twice about the food choices I make and their effects on my body.
Cauliflower with cheese. It takes about 15 minutes to prepare.
Do you cook for your family members?
I cook for my parents, maybe two or three times a week.
What do they think about your cooking?
They think I cook healthy because I always try to measure the amount of each ingredient I use and because I always make sure [my dishes have] all the nutrients the human body needs. They also think the recipes I do are interesting.
Has the market affected your future job or school plans? How?
The market has made me realize the interest I have in nutrition. I’m eager to look for jobs where I would be able to help families in my community. Even when I eat my lunch in school now, I always look at the ingredients in the food. Most of the food offered in school is processed.
Has the market affected how you interact with your teachers or classmates?
Because of my experience, I am able to share my thoughts about many different problems our city faces, like obesity and hypertension.
What else have you learned from working at the market?
I have developed the ability to persevere, since dealing with nasty weather is not easy at all. It can be uncomfortable to work under those circumstances, but I think about the benefits we provide to the community, by reaching to them with fresh fruits and vegetables. I have learned to have patience and serenity with customers who are tough. Patience because I listen to what has triggered the customer’s attitude, and serenity because I try to remain calm and never fight back. That will make the situation worse than what it might be.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve overheard at the market?
I overheard that when someone eats a lots of beets, the digestive system of that individual turns red.
What’s the most important question customers at the market should ask?
I believe the most important question customers at the market should ask is: “Where does this vegetable/fruit come from?”
What’s your favorite fruit or veggie that you tried for the first time while working at the market?
What’s one you’re not so crazy about?
What advice would you give someone who’s thinking about working at the Youthmarket?
It opens many doors. It makes you grow as individual, and it makes you realize how essential something so unnoticed—the daily food we eat—is.
Like it? Read more Young & Green.
ALL PHOTOS: GROW NYC'S YOUTHMARKET