Last week, all the Project LEAD from St. Paul gathered for a three day “city” retreat to team build, plan for our Youth Farmer program, visit Philadelphia Farm, and soak up the sun at Lake Nokomis. Look at these delicious strawberries we picked at Philly Farm! In addition, we planted acorn squash, played with goats and chickens, and took a hike to a waterfall and native prairie.
Thanks again to the team from the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis for coming out and helping us whip our Lyndale Farms into shape this past week. We really appreciate your continued partnership and engagement in our work!
Thursday Lyndale cooking class started the spring session at one of our farms. Every Thursday youth are going to work outside at the farms getting them ready for Summer 2017. This week they started by picking trash and prepping the beds to seed or transplant soon. Also, they had so much fun playing running games and grilling hotdogs.
Spring is a busy time over here on the West Side! Our middle schoolers at Humboldt and OWL are seeding in the greenhouse, transplanting, and sprucing things up with spray paint. We continue to cook each Wednesday — our most recent class was a Chopped competition with four competing teams! The winning team prepared breaded and fried sweet pepper spears, a mustard green pesto, a cheese sauce, and homemade tortilla chips.
This Saturday, our first work group of the season came out to Robert St farm to help us flip beds, spread compost, and build a trellis for peas and sweet potatoes. We used the entire pile of compost across 10 beds. Time for another compost delivery. Thank you Conservation Corps for your hard work and awesome ninja-playing skills!
The South Minneapolis team at Youth Farm would love to see our community at a hoop house party this Sunday April 16th from 1-3 pm. Help us clean up the hoop house and garden, eat food provided by Youth Farm, and spend time in good company.
Where: Youth Farm’s Green Central Hoophouse at Green Central Park. 3416 4th Ave S Minneapolis
When: Sunday April 16th from 1-3 pm
Who: Powderhorn and Central neighborhood residents with the Youth Farm family of teens and staff
Place matters. By grounding our work in neighborhoods, young people, their families and neighbors feel greater ownership, accountability, and understanding of the powerful role youth play in a community. Strong intergenerational and intercultural relationships among youth, parents, business owners, churches, schools, community centers, and neighbors, connects youth and adults in each neighborhood, creating a long term foundation for social change.
Youth Farm’s current 5 neighborhoods (Lyndale & Powderhorn is South Minneapolis, Hawthorne in North Minneapolis, and Frogtown and West Side in St. Paul) all have great strengths and possibility, a multitude of community institutions and schools to partner with, and youth as a key asset, and varying levels of food insecurity in and around the neighborhoods. Within these neighborhoods, Youth Farm seeks to address and/or engage around 3 main areas:
Youth as a community asset: For many in the Youth Development field, asset based youth programming is not a new concept. Youth Farm not only focuses on building positive development of skills and experience in programs, but also in the communities themselves. Youth Farm has over two decades of experience actively engaging youth in the neighborhood they live in to be true social change makers through the work they do around food. Youth Farm strikes a balance of engaging youth as real community contributors, while also focusing on childhood as a time for exploration, learning, and discovery.
Access to quality youth programming: For many lower income families, finding quality youth programming that they can afford is a struggle. In an effort to be accessible to all youth, Youth Farm’s programs are free, eliminating one clear barrier. Cost is not the only factor that prevents youth from accessing programs. In an effort to proactively facilitate participation for all youth, our program staff work intentionally throughout the year to reach neighborhood families who have additional barriers that include: limited English language skills, transportation, and unstable home environments. We work to prioritize youth and families with the least access.
Local food access for lower income residents: We continue to refine our model to provide more fresh, healthy food to lower income residents in a way that is sustainable and true to our youth development mission. We engage youth in effective local food distribution, by involving them not just in the growing and distributing of produce in unique ways such as family CSA’s, cooking classes and food shelves, but as community researchers and planners in their Action Research and neighborhood food distribution plans. By actively engaging youth and families that have the least access, we are more effective at having youth as true community change makers.
Where Youth Farm establishes programs is very intentional, as is who we work to engage and create access to our programs. While we have evolved and grown over the last 23 years, the importance of place and the role neighborhood based programming plays in our approach has remained solid. Strong connections and involvement in each of these 5 neighborhoods provides the foundation both for Youth Farm’s work and Youth Farmers success in becoming great leaders.
Last Thursday night we celebrated with the youth’s families and community partners the great success that the youth had in our Thursday cooking class. We ended our cooking winter session with lots of great food made from a family member, youth, and somali restaurant. We had lots of fun times cooking together and building relationships among ourselves. Lyndale and Whittier youth are growing more into our programs and we hope to see more youth get involved in our spring session. We had over 60 people eating great healthy meal last Thursday night. Thank you everyone for coming and supporting the youth in their great success here in Youth Farm.
Youth Farm’s Greenhouse is starting to get green (and red and yellow thanks to the Rainbow Chard)! We have nearly 4,000 seedlings growing right now and we’re not even halfway done for the spring. Stay tuned for more pictures of the cutest plant babies you’ve ever seen!
The seasons are turning and we’re celebrating here at Youth Farm with food and baby plants. Last week we said goodbye to a youth who has been in our afterschool cooking class since the first day last fall. We will miss her dearly. The greenhouse is bustling – leeks, onions, swiss chard, and the like have already begun sprouting. And we got creative last week in our Wellstone community class with make-your-own pizzas, including a dessert pizza creation by LEAD Heaven. Warm weather here we come…
The wind was no match for Youth Farm this week as our Minneapolis Team put the plastic on our hoop house at Green Central. We are excited to kick off the growing season early thanks to our partnership with Minneapolis Parks and Recreation and Green Central School. Special shout out to South Minneapolis Manager Jesus Perez and Hawthorne Organizer Marcus Kar who came in as our “closers” to put the final touches on the hoop house!