For the first time in a decade, the Youth Farm and Market Project
which develops youth leaders through urban agriculture, gardens, and
greenhouses, is adding a couple of new farms to its lineup.
In recent months, it's been redeveloping a lot at Nellie Stone Johnson Community School
in North Minneapolis's Hawthorne neighborhood and another at the Church and School of St. Agnes
in St. Paul's Frogtown.
organization, which originated in Minneapolis's Lyndale neighborhood in
1995, also has sites in Powderhorn and on the West Side of St. Paul.
Stoelb, who is the program's associate director, says that the Youth
Farm and Market had been getting inquiries for several years from the
neighborhoods. During the winter months this year, the right combination
of partnerships, planning, and funding came together to make it work.
for what encouraged the neighborhoods to approach Youth Farm and Market
in the first place, she says, "I think the partners are the most
excited about the youth organization and community engagement
The farms start with a group of about 10-15 youth, who range from 9 to 18 years of age. They
grow, prepare, and sell food. Farms differ from neighborhood to
neighborhood, building on existing programs and individual needs.
Children help assess an area's food needs and work alongside others to design and set up the farm,
In Hawthorne, a group of children chose vegetables
based on "what they love," and what they were cooking, which resulted
in all kinds of vegetables being planted. "It's the first year and the
youth were excited to put a bunch of stuff in," she says, adding that they've even planted peanuts.
But in Frogtown, the site work is just
beginning. Between the two new sites, "we're hoping to grow slowly," she
says, "to engage youth and partners and meet the needs of the
neighborhood as we go along."
Altogether, the organization works
with about 500 youth, to whom it hopes to add another 200 in the next
few years, according to Stoelb.
While they produce a sizable
amount of food, "we're a youth development organization that uses
she says. "Our greatest outcome is not farming, it's that we're
engaging youth in community."
Source: Amanda Stoelb, program associate director, Youth Farm and Market
Writer: Anna Pratt