Poder Juvenil Campesino (PJC) is a group of young men and women farmworkers who are changing their community.
Poder Juvenil Campesino means “Rural Youth Power” in English, and there is no doubt these youth are powerful! They are between the ages of 12 and 22 from Lenoir, Greene and Wayne Counties and are the spark of positive change in their community. Since 2009, the group has promoted the well-being and dignity of all farmworkers, spoken against child labor, and practiced environmental sustainability through participating in educational and creative projects such as:
- Photography exhibits, both nationally and internationally
- Panel discussions
- Documentaries and interviews in both print and electronic media
- Community education and research, partnering with Wake Forest University and Eastern Carolina University
- Environmentally sustainable market garden
- Hosting YouthSpeak, an annual youth-led community forum
PJC members participate in youth leadership development activities that prepare them for community action and participation surrounding farmworker issues. They also participate in different activities with other youth groups with the goal of strengthening their connections to other youth leaders.
Research and Education
Farmworker youth are trained by Wake Forest University faculty to conduct research and educate farmworkers on heat stress prevention while working in the fields.
Youth council members are trained by a professional photographer in the art of capturing images for telling their own story and raising awareness for farmworker advocacy. These youth have created a traveling photography exhibit that has been shown throughout North Carolina, in Washington DC, as well as an international exhibit in Mexico. Their photos have been included in newspaper and television reports, books, and documentaries. They also sell their photos to generate funds for equipment and future projects.
Additionally, they are working as event photographers, recording local events like weddings, family celebrations and conferences. The money earned goes to the youth photographers, with a portion going to buy additional professional level equipment.
Planting Futures Project
The Planting Futures Project is a youth market garden that aims to increase physical activity and healthy food consumption while linking youth to entrepreneurial activities that connect them with the earth. The Planting Futures project gives youth an active leadership experience connecting their passion for growing food with harvesting healthy lifestyles within their own homes and community.