By Ashley Williams
“We have the right to healthy food at school, GMO-free food, and poison free food.” This is what 19-year-old Maya Salsedo promotes in her Youth Food Bill of Rights. Salsedo's 17-point declaration for sustainable eating was recognized this week by the Brower Youth Awards in San Francisco.
Salsedo lives in Santa Cruz, California, where she works for food justice and security in urban areas and farms. Number 13 on her Bill of Rights states, “We have the right to save our seed.” This article opposes legal restrictions that big seed companies can place on their seeds: “any law that prevents this should be reversed.” Salsedo also promotes knowledge of where our food comes from and advocates for limited use of pesticides and labeling of genetically modified food.
Salsedo inherited her interest in food from her parents. They emigrated from Puerto Rico to work in Hawaii’s sugar cane fields when she was a child. During those days, her family had limited access to healthy foods. Now, with her award and its $3000 cash prize, Salsedo is on her way to helping young people like her gain better access to healthier foods. The Youth Food Bill of Rights has not been ratified by any governmental agency, but recent recognition of her work may be the first step towards turning her articles into law.