Guest Youth Blogger: Daynaba Mohamed, Youth Food Movement Intern


My name is Daynaba Mohamed. I am 14 years old and an 8th grade student at the Browne Middle School in Chelsea, MA. I joined Youth Food Movement in 2014, after a friend who was in the program introduced me to it. From her I learned that Youth Food Movement focused mainly on school food, which I had never really thought about. They also did projects to further educate themselves about healthy eating and living along with tasting healthy foods, and doing some work in Anita’s Garden, a youth community garden. I decided to apply for a position as an intern. After my interview with Maddy Herzog and Hannah Finnigan, the leaders of the program, I soon was informed that I was accepted into the program.

Since joining Youth Food Movement I have made great friendships with my peers and there is a great working environment between me, my peers, and program leaders. I loved working together with my fellow interns and having many detailed discussioIMG_0051ns. I also very much enjoyed going to Anita’s Garden.

I found that coming to the garden where there are trees around and just working to make real food was very calming.

Even with all the fun I have with my fellow interns in YFM, we are also working hard to get a lot of work done with school food. As advocates for healthy eating, we want to make school food not only healthier but tasty for students so that they can get all the nutrients they need to get through the day. To do this we work with Aramark, the school food supplier for the Chelsea district.  Every year, YFM creates a survey to collect data about the school food at Chelsea High School. When we get our results back the fall of the next year, we review all the information and organize it so we can present it to Aramark in a meeting. In the meetings, YFM gives our survey data to Aramark and some suggestions about the school food that they are capable of doing.

FullSizeRender (1)
Daynaba and fellow YFM interns help prepare a bean salad.

The first meeting that I was a part of during my first year at YFM differed greatly from our most recent one in December. At the first meeting, I did not have any huge involvement, but I could tell from observing that there was a very negative atmosphere in the room. Whenever YFM would ask a question about the school food system or how it was in other schools, Aramark’s response wasn’t the most pleasing or considerate. The whole meeting to me was just very negative and could have been more cooperative and organized.

YFM interns met with Chelsea’s Food Service Director and other Aramark staff in December.

Our meeting this December, unlike last year’s, was very satisfying. It was good to know that the new Aramark representatives were already a step ahead of us in dealing with issues surrounding the school food system. It was very organized with a presentation of what Aramark does and what regulations they have to follow that are give by the government and state. Then we interns informed Aramark about some issues in the high school cafeteria and gave suggestions including giving more of a variety of breakfast and lunch options and improving marketing and service. We also asked additional questions to clear up any confusion about what Aramark can and cannot do with the school food guidelines. Overall the meeting was very organized, had a positive and professional atmosphere, and was successful. I hope future meetings will be as good and even better.

As a whole group YFM is very hardworking. We want to use the knowledge we have of healthy eating and living to make creative solutions to school food problems. Making school food enjoyable and tasty while also healthy is a challenge. However, YFM hopes to use all the data from the surveys each year to not only make the school food better but also make the presentation, marketing, and service at school better. I am very glad to be a part of such a wonderful group of kind and smart individuals who are working together to reach the goal of healthy and tasty food in Chelsea.