Over the better half of the past decade, we have been honored to have Pedro Bayón as part of the Youth Farm team. Now in his first year as a Farm Steward, Pedro has taken on more and more leadership roles each year. Farming and food are both things that have had a major influence on Pedro’s life, and he has plans to keep them central for years to come. 

We recently sat down with this young leader to learn more about his food story and what it means to him:

Q: “How long have you been working at Youth Farm? Where does your interest/passion for food and/or gardening come from?”

 A: “I have been part of Youth Farm for over 6 years now. Before my time here, when I was really young, I remember my neighborhood had a lot of gardeners, so I was constantly exposed to different flowers and veggies simply while walking around. I would have a lot of conversations with neighbors about what they were growing and learned a lot about plants that way. Growing up, my parents also instilled the importance of food in me – we prayed before meals and talked about where our food came from. I would also cook with my dad and he would share with me why we ate what we ate related to our culture, affordability, and more. Then, when I was about 13 or 14, I got involved at Youth Farm and I was quickly introduced to more work related to plants and food.”

Q: “What does food mean to you?”

A: “Food is both essential and prominent in my life – food is something we engage with every day. Nowadays, it has become really important to me to think about what I am eating. In American society, I think food is often just thought of as fuel and so many people don’t think about the farm-to-table or factory-to-table process their food goes through. Access to food is also extremely important to me. I am working, both at Youth Farm and at a second job, to create access to healthy, local, and pesticide-free food. As people who have the means to produce food, I feel that it is our job to create access and knowledge around the food system.”

Q: “What are some of your favorite foods to grow, eat, and/or cook?”

A: “Recently I have really loved growing and eating a lot of sweet potatoes and squash because they are very nutrient dense. I also have always loved growing cherry tomatoes and greens like spinach and kale. These plants are low maintenance and make really good salads. Growing up, my mom had a flower garden and I was in charge of growing the veggies, which I still do today. I currently live in an apartment, so I have barriers to growing my own food due to space. Because of community spaces, like the ones Youth Farm manages, I am able to grow these things.”

A: “What things are you still hoping to learn and/or experience related to food?”

Q: “I am still interested in learning all of the science behind growing including how to grow plants more sustainably and as clean as possible. I am 20 right now, so my future is very much wide open, but I see myself going into music, community work, or agriculture. Bridging the gap between all three of these areas would be my ultimate dream.”