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Three Weapons in the War for Better Food & Beverage Options that YOU Already Have

No matter what food and beverage companies try to do and no matter how much money they spend there are three things that they cannot take away from you.

1. Your Vision -Take a moment to picture your community with more healthy and affordable food and beverage options. Close your eyes and really picture it for a few seconds. Movements start with vision and no matter how bad the situation gets we can’t lose our ability to envision a better reality. If we can’t envision what we really want then we’ve lost the battle. However, we haven’t lost yet because we can envision more grocery stores and less fast food restaurants. We can envision drinks with less syrup and sugar. We can envision community gardens.

Fast food and soda companies would like nothing more than to make us think is that the current state of affairs is how things have always been and that this is how they will always have to be. This is foolishness of course. The teens who work with and support SHIFTDemand know the food and beverage options are not the same in every community. They know that things were not always this bad and they have seen the change that can happen quickly when communities work together and when corporations make different decisions. So believe it or not, the battle for positive change starts in our minds. We need to envision in order for possibilities to become reality.

2. Your Buying Power –Despite what they may tell us, food and beverage companies don’t exist to make sure that our minds and bodies are strong or that our communities have jobs.  They exist for one reason – to provide a product/service that can generate a profit. As we have seen time and time again they will continue to make money even if the impact on communities is deadly.  This also means that they pay attention to where we spend our money and what we spend it on. We have to learn to demand what we want by how we spend our dollars - not just one individual but as groups of individuals and communities. The companies claim that we want the garbage that they keep putting on the shelves and behind the counter. Therefore, it’s up to us to show them that we know how to use our buying power to help them to get on board with providing us better options.

3. Your Voice: No matter how much they may try to silence, ignore, ridicule or auto- tune our voices, the voices of youth have always been a powerful weapon for change. When young people in South Africa took to the streets to call for better education, the schools had to listen. When young people around the country marched to support justice for Trayvon Martin, the Sanford police department had to listen.  When young people joined the civil rights movements in America the government had to listen and laws eventually were changed.

So here’s a question: How are you using your vision, your buying power, and your voice in your community right now?

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