Veggie IQ is a novel, innovative, and youth-led initiative of Sansum Diabetes Research Institute. We aim to excite young Hispanic/ Latinos to become Santa Barbara’s first Youth Scientists. Youth Scientists use science and technology to highlight the important links between good food and good physical and mental well-being while ending the health inequalities faced by many young people in the United States today.

Access to good food is a human right

We know that the Hispanic/Latino community has faced serious long-term medical problems caused by challenges in accessing nutritious food, including high rates of diabetes. Youth Scientists gain the opportunity to use the power of science and technology to improve the health – both physical and mental – of our community.

Science Sessions

Through active participation in bimonthly Science Sessions at local urban farms and through the creation of their own unique public service campaigns, Youth Scientists encourage their peers and younger students to become just as excited about food as medicine. The Veggie IQ program also enables Youth Scientists to wear activity trackers (Fitbits) to help remove barriers to physical activity. Science Sessions address topics such as how food impacts mental health, food science and nutrition, principles of farming and local food systems, importance of sleep and physical activity for wellbeing, healthy cooking demonstrations, and food justice issues. Most importantly, this group of local high school students become the scientists and leaders of the future for our community. Click here to learn more.


Photo by Veggie IQ 2021