The grandeur of the Teens for Food Justice (TFFJ) 2023 Gala was an awe-inspiring spectacle held at the prestigious Lighthouse at Pier 61, Chelsea Piers in the heart of New York City. This extravagant event not only marked the celebration of the organization’s remarkable 10th anniversary but also served as a poignant reminder of its unwavering commitment to revolutionizing accessibility to fresh food and enhancing nutritional well-being within the low-income communities of New York City and Denver.

Amidst the opulence of the Gala, attendees were treated to the talents of the esteemed artist and emcee, Ariana DeBose, and the culinary expertise of the renowned celebrity chef, Melba Wilson. The evening’s spotlight shone brightly on the distinguished honorees—Randy Stern, acknowledged as the Teens for Food Justice Champion, and Alyssa Gardner-Vazquez, celebrated as the Distinguished TFFJ Alumna. Their tireless contributions to the cause were met with well-deserved recognition, emphasizing the profound impact that dedicated individuals can have on fostering positive change within the community.

The ambiance of the Gala was elevated by the skilled auctioneer and fundraiser, C K Swett, whose adept handling of the proceedings propelled the organization closer to its ambitious goals. At the heart of TFFJ’s transformative mission lies the active involvement of students, who construct hydroponic farms and cultivate crops as part of their STEM classes. These innovative farms, with the potential to yield up to 10,000 pounds of fresh produce annually, not only contribute to nutritional health but also serve as educational hubs for the next generation.

A poignant sentiment expressed by a TFFJ farmer encapsulates the very essence of the organization’s mission—”Healthy eating should be a right.” Looking towards the future, TFFJ aims to expand its impact by operating 10 farms involving 26 schools, with a goal to nourish approximately 13,000 students by the end of 2024. The success of the 2023 Gala stands as a testament to the collective dedication and generosity of those who attended, with an astounding almost $950,000 raised and counting.

In the midst of this amazing event, it is worth noting that Sheen Magazine was honored to play a pivotal role in the festivities. The magazine takes pride in being a part of such a meaningful celebration, supporting a cause that resonates with its commitment to positive community impact. Furthermore, heartfelt appreciation goes out to the Lawlor Media Group for their incredible job in orchestrating an event that surpassed all expectations. Their meticulous planning and dedication to excellence were evident in every detail, contributing significantly to the overall success and magnificence of the gathering. Indeed, the collaboration between Sheen Magazine and the Lawlor Media Group added an extra layer of distinction to an already remarkable occasion, marking it as an unforgettable milestone in the ongoing journey towards a healthier and more equitable future for all.


About Teens for Food Justice (TFFJ):

Teens for Food Justice (TFFJ) operates high-capacity hydroponic farms on six school campuses across four New York City boroughs and in Denver, Colorado.

TFFJ students use real-world 21st-century science and technology to grow up to 10,000 pounds (per school) of hydroponic produce annually. Through the program, TFFJ’s young farmers develop a meaningful solution to food insecurity, transform their relationship with the food they eat, and develop cutting-edge STEM skills needed in a new green sector economy. For more information, please visit

I: @ teensforfoodjustice | F: teensforfoodjustice | X / T: @tffjinitiative


PRESS CONTACT (Teens for Food Justice):

Norah Lawlor | Lawlor Media Group | | Tel: (212) 967-6900

I: @lawlormedia | F: LawlorMediaGroup | X / T: @LawlorMedia


Photo Credits: PMC / Paul Bruinooge