Ridgefield ninth-grader creates comic for the Farm Sanctuary

RIDGEFIELD — Ridgefield High School ninth-grader Frankie Belden, a member of the Youth Leadership Council at the Farm Sanctuary, took a creative route when deciding how to approach her advocacy project by creating a comic titled “The Adventures of Super-Moo! (and Lucille).”

“We encourage all of our members in the Youth Leadership Council to develop advocacy projects that excite them,” said council adviser Chloe Fuller. “At the beginning of the school year, I met with each YLC member to discuss their ideas for advocacy projects. I was elated when Frankie shared her idea to make a comic because we had never had a project like this come out of our program before. We ask all the students to think of projects they would like to develop, but Frankie's is uniquely creative.”

The Youth Leadership Council is a national network of middle and high school students who come together to advocate for farm animals and a more just, sustainable and compassionate food system. Farm Sanctuary staff mentor the members through advocacy projects and provide education about the food system. Its mission is to empower young activists and nurture their passion and creativity through activism.

Belden had been interested in creating a comic for awhile but finally started over the summer. Initially, she wasn’t sure what to write about, but when she realized almost all superhero comics are about humans, she decided to create Super-Moo.

“I love cows and thought that a cow superhero would make for a funny story, but as the comic developed, and as I began to immerse myself more with activism, I realized that art can be powerful and can give people new perspectives,” she said. “So I began to shift Super-Moo's aim toward teaching people about the harmful effects of our food system through funny stories and colorful art.”

As a member of the Youth Leadership Council, Belden has learned about animal agriculture and how it impacts animals, humans and the environment. This inspired her to spread the council’s message in a fun way that would connect with more people and raise awareness — and she has already been successful in doing so.

“Many members of the Farm Sanctuary team have been moved by Frankie's project,” Fuller said. “Using art in activism is a powerful way to share a message and advocate for change. This project is also a shining example of combining one's passions to create something truly unique.”

“I hope that my comic will reach people, especially kids like me, and allow them to see their world through a new lens,” Belden said of her work. “The impacts of farming animals are real, and I think that the more people are aware of this, the more they can change their lifestyle to support our earth, and maybe they can be inspired to make a difference. I hope that Super-Moo opens people's eyes and also shows them that activism does not have to come in the form of physical protest. Sometimes the best way to reach people is through creativity and thinking outside the box.”

gmarku@darientimes.com