Friday’s Featured Leader: Kaylynn Braun

So many of the young people involved at Youth Farm have grown up before our eyes. Saint Paul Project LEAD Kaylynn Braun is one of them. Now a sophomore at Humboldt High School, Kaylynn has been part of the Youth Farm Family for over five years, first getting involved after a friend of hers had told her about the old summer program. 

“When one of my friends had told be about Youth Farm back in elementary school, I thought it sounded like a cool program, but then he moved away,” Kaylynn said. “Even though he had moved, I was still interested so I got involved anyway and have been here ever since.”

Word of mouth is often how youth first hear about our programs, but their experiences are what have made so many of them stay.

“After those first few years at program, I really felt comfortable at Youth Farm and I loved being involved here,” Kaylynn said. “As I was going into high school, I was of age to become a Project LEAD and I thought, why not? I already loved coming to Youth Farm and as a LEAD I get paid for my work here. It’s a win win!”

Kaylynn’s story is a testament as to why we so highly value our progressive program model. By offering youth new opportunities as they age and mature, they stick around because they are challenged at levels appropriate for where they’re at. 

We completely understand that Kaylynn was interested in taking on a high school employment position, but we always wonder, why this one?

“I think the main reason I’ve always loved being at Youth Farm is because I get to be around a lot of different people,” Kaylynn said. “When I was younger I made so many friends here and I remember just having fun with them. Of course we would learn to plant, grow, and cook things, but I also remember just hanging out and being kids. One of my favorite memories from before my time as a Project LEAD was making videos with my friends in the old playhouse behind the church. We would make fake reality and cooking shows and I just remember it being so funny.”

“Now as a Project LEAD, I still love being around people and I think my favorite part of my job is attending community events,” she continued. “At events we’re always able to help people out, learn more about our community, and spread the word about what we’re doing at Youth Farm.”

It makes us beyond happy to hear that youth like Kaylynn are truly enjoying the time they spend with us. We learn so much from them and wouldn’t be able to do what we do without their support. Of course, as much as we are learning, our biggest hope is that they are learning two times as much through not only our programs, but the community connections they build.

“I think there’s two main things I’ve learned at Youth Farm: gardening skills and leadership,” Kaylynn said. “Simply because I have been in the garden for so many years now, I have learned how to keep plants alive. I’m no green thumb, but I kept all of my plants at home alive this summer. My mom and I are even thinking about expanding our flower garden at home to include some herbs. That way I hope that we can cook more at home than we currently do.”

“Along with gardening, Youth Farm has taught me how to be a leader,” she said. “I feel like now I am able to create a plan to solve a problem on the spot and I’m not always looking for someone else to take the lead when I’m doing that.”

When our youth begin to see themselves as leaders without us reminding them that they are, that’s when we know we’re doing something right. Leaders like Kaylynn make us exceedingly proud, and we know they will do great things beyond their time at Youth Farm. 

Now of course, we understand that not all of the youth we get the pleasure of working with want to become farmers or chefs, and that’s okay! The next generation has so much talent, and we want to see that talent used in a plethora of different ways. Kaylynn has always had a passion for animals, and seeing where that takes her will be an awesome ride. 

“Because animals have always been my first love, I know that I want my career to focus on them,” Kaylynn said. “After high school, I want to go to college to become a vet tech and work at a rescue for a few years. After getting more experience, my ultimate goal is to open a cat cafe. Animals are my biggest passion, but I also love to bake. If I could pair those two things together I would have my dream job.”

With all of her strong leadership skills, a love for animals, and a zest for life, we think it’s just a matter of time before we see Kaylynn landing that dream job. Meet us relaxing at the cat cafe in just a few year’s time, proudly declaring that we’ve known the owner since she was running her bakery out of an old playhouse.

Friday’s Featured Leader: Michael Seye

“Youth are everywhere, they will always be around, and they will always need leaders to help guide them. That’s why the work we do at Youth Farm is so important.” We couldn’t agree more with these words from Northside Project LEAD Michael Seye, who has time and again proven to be an influential leader. 

Michael serving up a Youth Farm salad bar at a summer community event.

Michael has been a dedicated member of the Youth Farm family for seven years. When he was just eight years old his mom saw a Youth Farm flyer and thought our programs might be a good way to get young Michael involved in community activities. We are happy she did because Michael has never looked back and is now in his second year as a Project LEAD.

Michael’s Youth Farm story is a testament as to why we so highly value our progressive programming model. As a Youth Farmer, he explored urban agriculture and cooking, he grew as a role model during his time as an All Star, and he is currently working on building strong leadership and career skills through his role as a Project LEAD.

“Since I started at Youth Farm, I have never taken a break from it,” Michael said. “I love it here and decided to take on the Project LEAD position because Youth Farm offers opportunities that other high school employment programs don’t. Here I am given responsibility to lead other youth and problem solve along the way. Because I am given such an important role, I feel like I am able to make changes in my community that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to make.”

It is always exciting to hear that our youth value our programs and feel as though they are learning from them, but so much of the change our youth are affecting in their communities is happening on their own terms. Michael is not only a leader at Youth Farm, he is also a leader in his own household and community.

“At Youth Farm I have learned a lot of life skills like cooking and gardening,” Michael said. “These skills are really practical and useful in my everyday life. At home I cook dinner for my family two days a week and, although at my house we only have a few potted plants, I have used my gardening skills to help my best friend’s mom plan, plant, and manage her garden.”

It is clear that Michael has a passion for cooking and gardening, but his interests only begin there. This year he is a sophomore at Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts where he is able to further explore his interest and talent for acting. It has been awesome to watch as Michael brings his expertise in performance arts to the Youth Farm family. We can always count on him to feel comfortable in front of the microphone at community events and to instruct younger youth in a fun and engaging way. With so many skills going for him, we are excited to see where Michael ends up in high school and beyond.

Michael with climate activist Tara Houska after he attended an environmental justice panel this spring with important city leaders.

“Even though they are not similar at all, my two chosen career paths right now are either acting or chemical engineering,” Michael said. “No matter what I choose, I for sure want to stay involved at Youth Farm throughout high school and hopefully beyond that. I know that mentoring and leading youth will be part of my life, even into adulthood. I don’t know what that looks like right now, but I want young people to know what opportunities are available to them and that they can make a difference no matter how young they are. Youth are the future!”

As Michael advances throughout his high school career, we hope to continue to help him in developing valuable life skills. Beyond that though, we know we have a lot to learn from him. Our youth continue to teach us more and more about the world every day. If no one has told you lately, our future is in good hands.

Taste of the Farm 2019

First of all, we would like to send a huge thank you to everyone who made our 6th annual Taste of the Farm dinner possible! From our restaurant partners to our volunteers to our guests, what we do at Youth Farm would not be possible without all of you.

This year’s event took on a different feel than past years, with dinner hosted inside of Northside brewery, La Doña Cervecería. La Doña is a fully operational brewery and event space that strives to celebrate the merging of Latino and Minnesotan culture while supporting social, economic, and environmental issues. La Doña’s alignment with the mission and values of Youth Farm made it the perfect space for our signature fundraising event.

La Doña Cervecería’s beautiful, open bar and event space was a perfect setting for this year’s Taste of the Farm dinner.

With this beautiful brewery as our backdrop, we still wanted our guests to have the opportunity to see some of our working gardens. Just blocks from La Doña are two of our Northside gardens, Peace Haven Herbal Garden and Irving Avenue Garden. In true Youth Farm fashion, we brought the farm to the city, offering our guests hayrides to and from our nearby garden spaces.

Youth Farm is lucky to have local farmer friends, one of which ran hayrides from La Doña Cervecería to several of our urban gardens at this year’s Taste of the Farm dinner.

Paired alongside delicious beers from La Doña Cervecería and wine from The Wine Company, this year’s dinner was one for the books! We were beyond ecstatic to have two of the best chefs in Minnesota, Alex Roberts, of Alma and Brasa, and Ann Kim, of Young Joni, tag team the menu for the night. Both Alex and Ann are James Beard award-winners and have been highly respected members of the Twin Cities’ food scene for many years. The menu they created drew on inspiration from the family style eating traditions of Mexico and Korea and featured grilled meats, vegetables, and sauces that were eaten wrapped in fresh tortillas and lettuces.

The beautiful seasonal salad served at Taste of the Farm, made with sungolds, cucumbers, sweet corn, cotija cheese, and citrus vinaigrette.

Throughout dinner, guests heard spoken word from several of our youth, enjoyed music from DJ SciPreme, watched as local artist DelStarr worked his magic, and participated in a live auction. To wrap up the night, desserts were served and raffle winners were announced.

Local artist, Delphin Starr Niyonkuru, known as DelStarr, took the stage at Taste of the Farm to paint throughout dinner, including the pieces he created in the live auction at the end of the night.

We are beyond happy with the way the night came together. Bringing good food, drinks, music, art, and community together is sure to create an experience to remember, and this year’s Taste of the Farm proved just that. As we relax and unwind after another successful dinner, we are overwhelmed with gratitude for the people that support our work. Together, we are uplifting youth in the Twin Cities, allowing them to develop the leadership skills they need to create bright futures for themselves and their communities.

Northside Farm Steward, Sergio Arredondo, received a well-deserved standing ovation after his speech at the Taste of the Farm dinner,

We look forward to hosting many of you at next year’s Taste of the Farm dinner and hope to connect with you somewhere between now and then!

Friday’s Featured Leader: Leo Sovell-Fernandez

Building leaders is what Youth Farm is grounded in. We believe that leaders, no matter how young, can change not only their communities, but the world. However, we also recognize that leadership comes in many forms, both good and bad, and we aim to overcome challenges to produce solely positive change. Our goals may be lofty, but our youth speak for themselves and show us everyday that what we’re doing matters.

In the words of St. Paul Farm Steward, Leo Sovell-Fernandez, “Youth Farm has taught me that good leadership is not built through power, but through relationships. I’ve learned that this concept goes a long way, especially with kids. Build a relationship with them and then give them a little bit of freedom to lead their peers and community, even in something as simple as a kickball game, and they will take pride in it.”

Leo, center in green, leading a volunteer work group on the West Side Farm.

To hear this directly through a young adult that has been involved with our programs for ten years is so gratifying. 

Leo started his time at Youth Farm by coming to West Side St. Paul’s old summer program. After hearing kids on the bus talk about something called “Youth Farm,” he talked to his parents and started attending programs with his sister in 2009. Since that first summer, Leo has been consistently involved with Youth Farm programs, at first coming for only summer programs, and then getting more involved during the school year as he got older. 

“I remember those first couple Youth Farm summers being really fun and coming to program was always somewhere I felt comfortable,” Leo said. “I started getting even more involved when I needed volunteer hours in eighth grade. I decided to volunteer at Youth Farm programs during the school year for the credit I needed and that transitioned right into a Project LEAD role the following year.”

Leo was a dedicated Project LEAD youth staff all the way through high school and has taken on a Farm Steward position this summer. We are so lucky to have him back for the summer before he heads back to Vermont, where he will be a sophomore at Middlebury College. 

After so many years and a college career that has taken him states away, we were interested in knowing why it is that Leo is still so dedicated to Youth Farm after all these years. 

“Eventually I’d love to spend a summer in my college town, but my family and playing competitive ultimate frisbee brought me back to Minnesota this summer,” Leo said. “Youth Farm has been part of my life for such a long time that it felt like a no brainer to take a position here while I was back for the summer. The work I do at Youth Farm is something I really care about. Some of my best friends are people I met here and working with such a great group of people to build community and work with neighborhood kids is so rewarding.” 

Leo, right, with Program Specialist AJ.

Leo has brought so much to Youth Farm, from his passion for sports to his dedication to the West Side neighborhood. We can only hope that we have brought as much positive influence into his life.

“I decided to go to college in Vermont because I have family in New Hampshire, but Youth Farm really helped me get there,” Leo said. “All of my experiences here have been such great resume builders. Back in high school they helped me build a strong application for my study abroad trip to Mexico and that trip along with the skills I built at Youth Farm were really my tickets into Middlebury.”

As Leo heads into his sophomore year as a Geography major, we can only hope to continue to support him, even if this may be his last formal summer at Youth Farm. We realize many of his goals lie out east, but no matter if he chooses to stay there or go elsewhere, we know that he is ready to take on anything that comes his way.  

Friday’s Featured Leader: Seeha Sangwang

At Youth Farm, we are constantly preaching the importance of community connections, and our youth continue to remind us why that is so important.

St. Paul Project LEAD, Seeha Sangwang, has been involved at Youth Farm for about two years, but would never have been connected with us if it weren’t for engaged community partners.

Seeha in his element, the kitchen.

“A while back I was looking for a job at the El Rio Vista rec center,” Seeha said. “I was good friends with the program director there at the time, but he told me that they were full, so they couldn’t hire me. He really wanted to help me out though, so he directed me to a Farm Steward from Youth Farm that was running programs at the rec center throughout the summer. I volunteered for a few days during program and was offered a job almost right away because they saw that I was ready to work and loved leading activities with kids!”

Seeha, who is a senior this year at Humboldt High School, has stayed involved at Youth Farm ever since those first few days of volunteering. We are so glad to have him here because his positive energy and hard work ethic is always welcome at program. 

“I have always liked the Youth Farm experience because it has really gotten me involved in my community and that’s why I’ve chosen to stay,” Seeha said. “I have also had opportunities to meet a lot of important people and work with kids. Through Youth Farm, we are working together to build the next generation.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Youth like Seeha are instrumental in mentoring younger youth and children and serve as influential role models within their neighborhoods. 

Not only has Seeha been an important mentor to his peers and younger youth, he has also met and worked with several people he really looks up to. 

“The Farm Steward I worked with my first year was a chef, and he had a lot of connections with other chefs in the community,” Seeha said. “He introduced me to a local chef that was hosting a pop-up and I was invited to join as a guest line cook. This was a super cool opportunity for me because my goal is to cook professionally in the future.”

At Youth Farm, our mission is not to build the next generation of farmers, but rather, to use food as a connection point to build leaders who will go on to be successful doctors, teachers, carpenters, mechanics, artists, and chefs. To bring together our youth, like Seeha, with people who are able to help them realize and act on their goals solidifies why we do what we do. 

“Probably the biggest thing that I’ve taken away from Youth Farm is that food brings people together,” Seeha said. “Taking this idea into my own life, I have decided that I really want to become a chef. Next year I am looking into going to St. Paul College for culinary arts. After that I’d like to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in business in order to have the tools to start my own restaurant.”

As Seeha transitions into adulthood, we hope to continue to be a support system for him, helping him build connections that will allow him to achieve his lofty goals. 

Friday’s Featured Leader: Nickolas Vang

As we continue to expand our work with public schools, it is extremely beneficial for us to explore our past successes within these partnerships. 

To say that school partnerships oftentimes serve as a youth’s first experience at Youth Farm would be an understatement. So many of our youth who are now taking on Project LEAD and Farm Steward roles got involved with Youth Farm because they attended an in- or after-school program, and St. Paul Project LEAD Nickolas Vang can attest to that. 

Nickolas (left) learning to make tortillas with Program Specialist, Jesus.

“I think I was in third grade when I started going to after school cooking classes,” Nickolas said. “At that time, I was a student at Jackson Elementary School which is actually the school the Project LEAD team partnered with this summer where we taught younger kids about gardening and growing food.”

It is so rewarding to see the evolution of our youth, especially as many of them grow into the role models they once looked up to. By employing youth that are from the same neighborhoods and backgrounds as the younger youth they are mentoring, Youth Farm is able to create a more connected community through the efforts of these respected youth leaders. 

Speaking of looking up to role models, Nickolas had a pretty good one. 

“I was a youth farmer for many years and during that time my brother actually became a Project LEAD,” Nickolas said. “When I started high school, I followed in his footsteps and applied to be a Project LEAD myself.”

A mission of Youth Farm’s is to engage youth that choose to be involved in our programs themselves. Although many youth begin their involvement with some sort of nudge from their parents or guardians, it is interesting to hear how they got hooked and why they stuck around.

“Like a lot of kids, my parents wanted my brother and I to get outside when we were younger,” Nickolas remembers. “We’ve always had a family garden which has gotten us outside, but Youth Farm was another way for us to do that and ended up being super fun. When I was younger I loved taking Friday field trips. Both me and my brother chose to stay involved for a long time and it was the first job either of us have ever had.”

Nickolas (right) mulching at the main farm in the West Side neighborhood with a fellow LEAD staff.

Now in his second year of the Project LEAD program, Nickolas is looking forward to starting 10th grade and is taking plenty of important skills with him. 

“I’ve been involved at Youth Farm for over six years and I have learned a lot of valuable lessons,” Nickolas said. “Although I have no idea what my plans after high school are, I have learned to be a good time manager, teacher, problem-solver and employee.”

There are no words to explain how proud we are to hear those words from our youth. No matter what they do or where they go, we know they have built the skills for success. 

Friday’s Featured Leader: Alecia Mathews

Alecia, center, with Program Specialist, Jesus (right), and fellow Project LEAD, Dani (left)

The range of talents we have on our youth staff team consistently astounds us. Some of our youth are amazing athletes, mentors, artists, musicians, actors, and gardeners. Others, like Frogtown Project LEAD Alecia Mathews, have talents that lie in the kitchen. 

Since becoming a Project LEAD three years ago, Alecia has expanded upon her skills in the kitchen and there is no hiding the fact that she is a talented cook. 

“Before coming to Youth Farm, I already cooked at home, but here I have learned so many new recipes,” Alecia said. “I love spending time in the kitchen and we get to do a lot of that here.”

Although Alecia has been comfortable in the kitchen for quite some time, we are excited to see her learning new skills and becoming a leader during food prep when the St. Paul team hosts cooking classes and community events. 

Alecia’s involvement with Youth Farm has not only allowed her to spend more time in the kitchen, but it has also helped her spend more time outdoors and participating in new and interesting activities with her peers.

“I first got involved with Youth Farm because my brother’s best friend had been attending program, so my parents signed us up,” Alecia said. “For me, it is a great way to get outside and spend time in the kitchen. At home I play a lot of video games and coming to Youth Farm is something different.”

Although a large amount of our program time is spent in our gardens or in the kitchen, we also enjoy traveling and learning about how others are getting involved in agriculture and social change. Allowing our youth to meet new people and explore new places is a constant goal of ours. 

“One of my favorite Youth Farm memories was going to Wisconsin and visiting Buttermilk Falls Farm,” Alecia remembers. “We got to go strawberry picking and learn about the way they ran their farm.”

We recognize that when it comes to creating a youth-led food movement, we are not in it alone and we are excited to see that our youth recognize that as well. 

As Alecia enters her junior year of high school she is beginning to think about what the future holds for her. 

“Our cooking classes are one of my favorite things we do at Youth Farm,” she said. “Because I enjoy cooking so much, I have been thinking about going to culinary school after I graduate to continue working in the kitchen.”

While post-high school life rounds the corner for Alecia, we are excited to see where it takes her. In ten years we can only hope to get a table at her newly opened restaurant and experience how her cooking skills have evolved. However, if her path curves in a different direction, we have no doubt that she will be successful wherever she goes and we look forward to supporting her in whatever she chooses to pursue. 

Playing for the Plants: Episode 2

This past Saturday marked the second episode of the Playing for the Plants garden music series. This installment was very special to Youth Farm’s North Minneapolis team because it was hosted in the Nellie Stone Johnson Community School garden. This garden is the largest garden managed by Youth Farm in North Minneapolis and it was built many years ago with the help of one of our current Farm Stewards, Sergio Arredondo.

Local artist Traiveon takes the stage.

The afternoon was filled with plenty of food and live entertainment enjoyed surrounded by the crops that local youth have worked hard to maintain. In addition, we were so grateful to our sponsor Timberland for offering a pair of their classic boots to give away to one of our guests!

Community members gather in the garden for lunch while listening to local artists.

This episode featured local artists DJ SciPreme, Traiveon, and Grey Matter. Their talents were perfectly complimented by the culinary talents of one of the neighborhood residents who also happens to be Farm Steward Sergio’s mom. She whipped up a beautiful spread of Mexican beef tacos, rice, and beans. Our youth also prepared and served a full salad bar for guests.

Music in the garden was complimented by a colorful lunch which was free for guests.

Youth Farm’s North Minneapolis Program Director, Marcus Kar and the entire Northside team have worked hard to organize the Playing for the Plants series in the hopes of activating public spaces and allowing youth, community, and artists to take ownership of their neighborhoods. The music is recorded live to support the guest musicians and invite the masses to help support the series. By opening our arms and allowing people to experience urban gardens, our youth are able to garner more momentum behind a youth-led food movement in the Twin Cities. These youth leaders are creating social change through food and music and we couldn’t be happier to support them in this role.

For more information about the Playing for the Plants garden music series please visit http://www.facebook.com/playingfortheplants/

Friday’s Featured Leader: Sergio Arredondo

Farm Steward Sergio, left, with North Minneapolis Program Director, Marcus Kar.

Northside Farm Steward Sergio Arredondo is heavily involved in Youth Farm’s operations, however his involvement started almost accidentally many years ago. 

Now 21, Sergio had to dig deep to think about how his time at Youth Farm really started. 

“When I was in fifth or sixth grade we had an Americorps member working at our school,” Sergio said. “He was working to start a garden and some students, including myself, helped him build the garden from the ground up. That garden is now the Nellie Stone Johnson (NSJ) School Garden.”

After Sergio and other students had put in countless hours of hard work at the NSJ garden, it was unfortunately time for the garden designer from Americorps to leave. However, he was passionate about the garden he had helped these kids build and didn’t want to see it go unused. 

“When it was time for him to leave our school, he found Youth Farm and asked if they would be willing to take over the space. And they said ‘yes,’” Sergio said. “From then on Youth Farm has managed the garden that I helped to build and I have stayed involved since the very beginning.”

The value that Sergio brings to the Youth Farm team is immeasurable. Not only did he help build one of our largest gardens, he also knows the neighborhood and the community within it like the back of his hand. We are so proud that young people like Sergio continue to be involved with our programs year after year and aim to consistently understand why they make the choice to stay engaged. 

“When you start something, it sticks with you,” Sergio said. “I built this garden from the ground up and I continue to enjoy being outside tending to the plants here. Also, who gets to say that they have fun at work running around the garden with kids all day? My job at Youth Farm just doesn’t get boring and as I have gotten older I have been able to take on more responsibilities.”

Not only does Sergio enjoy his job as a Farm Steward, but he also helps us achieve our goals by bringing what he learns at work to his family and community. 

“When I was younger and had first started at Youth Farm, my family lived in an apartment, so we didn’t have a good space to grow food,” he said. “When we moved from our apartment into our house, we finally had a backyard. Now I take care of our home garden that grows things like peppers, onions, tomatoes, and herbs. The plus is that my mom is an amazing cook and will just run into the backyard if she needs something!”

Although it is clear that Sergio finds comfort in the garden and works hard to master his growing skills, he is most definitely a multi-skilled worker. He is about to start his last year studying welding at Minneapolis Community and Technical College and is set to graduate in the spring of 2020.

As Sergio takes on more responsibilities and forges his way into adulthood, his passion for the work he does at Youth Farm has not fizzled. 

“In the next few years I will be looking for a welding job to start my career, but I would really love to stay involved at Youth Farm somehow,” he said. “This is where I grew up and I have been in this garden since it was built. No matter what, I have learned that if I could build this garden when I was in middle school, I can do a lot of things. Through building, working in, and now managing this garden I have worked on myself and networked with so many great people.”

Youth like Sergio who have grown up before our eyes make us believe in a world where people can work, live, grow, and eat peacefully together and we are so excited to see where he takes all of his pride and passion in the future. 

Friday’s Featured Leader: Pedro Bayon

We are constantly astounded by the youth who choose to be involved in our programs. They are all extremely smart, charismatic, and multi-talented, characteristics that are easy to see in Project LEAD Pedro Bayon. 

Pedro originally got involved at Youth Farm because his mom was looking for neighborhood activities to keep his active mind busy during the summer. However, his engagement with Youth Farm has lasted much longer than just one summer, as he has now been involved for five years. 

“Although my mom totally forced me in, I clearly remember that my very first day at Youth Farm set the tone for how things are here,” Pedro said. “From the second I walked in everyone was so friendly and made me feel comfortable. I’ve stayed involved for so many years because of this positive and welcoming atmosphere and because I genuinely have fun when I am here.”

Throughout the years, Pedro has not only stayed involved with Youth Farm programs, he has also taken his home gardening to the next level. 

“Before starting Youth Farm I was interested in gardening, but not nearly as interested as I am now,” Pedro said. “When I started here my family had a very small garden with some tomatoes and a few flowers. Now I have started growing a larger variety of flowers, including sunflowers, and a variety of vegetables like snap peas. I also helped my family start our own compost.”

Pedro embodies our mission by not only learning about urban agriculture and sustainable practices, but taking what he has learned and teaching it to others. Through motivated leaders like Pedro, we envision a youth-led food movement taking over the Twin Cities.

As a recent high school graduate, Pedro has had some time to reflect on the skills he has developed at Youth Farm and how they will impact his life moving forward. 

“Through Youth Farm I have really developed my character,” Pedro said. “I have been given responsibilities like running classes and games for younger youth that have helped me develop into a leader, organizer, and role model.”

As Pedro moves into his adult life, he plans to continue using his skills and passions for gardening, leading, and performing. This coming fall he will be attending Augsburg University to pursue a degree in Music Business and Music Performance. 

“I am really excited for college, but I really think that Youth Farm is such a unique community and I hope to find a community like this wherever I go,” Pedro said. “It is truly amazing how the staff, community, and youth are connected in such a meaningful way.”

As our youth grow up and go out into the world, we hope that the impact we have made in their lives, and the impact they have made in ours, shines through. Nothing makes us prouder than the leaders we are able to witness achieve their goals and make this world a more connected and conscious place. 

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