Cultivating New Ground, Deepening Our Roots – Youth Farm and Market Project Announces Expansion Plans in two Twin Cities Neighborhoods

We have some exciting news to share! With 16 years of experience as our foundation, Youth Farm and Market Project (YFMP) has spent the last two years documenting, naming, and connecting the most successful and effective elements of our work to outcome based research.  We are now poised for the next stage of impact, serving additional neighborhoods and extending our programming to build leadership in a next generation of food advocates.

We are thrilled to announce expansion to two neighborhoods:  Hawthorne in North Minneapolis and Frogtown in St. Paul. The expansion is possible with funding from the St. Paul Foundation, the General Mills Foundation, SUPERVALU Foundation, along with several other grant awards, and with support from neighborhood partners including Beacons Minneapolis in the Hawthorne area and Frogtown Gardens located in the Frogtown area.

Expansion work began this spring in the Hawthorne Neighborhood and will begin in the Frogtown Neighborhood this summer.  The outcomes of this expansion will include:

  • 300 additional youth each year will be engaged in summer and after school programs in these two neighborhoods by 2014, including all aspects of the YFMP program model (Youth Farmers, All Stars, and Project LEAD) for youth ages 9-18.
  • Employment for 20 additional Project LEAD staff (ages 14-18) as well as expanding YFMP’s work to YFMP graduates ages 19-24 as Farm Specialists, a role that will allow for an increased focus on employment, leadership, and micro-enterprise from within these urban communities.
  • Produce grown in these 2 neighborhoods through YFMP programming will reach at least 100 residents in each neighborhood.  All farming, harvesting, and distribution efforts will be guided by youth-led action research around food needs in each community.

Enrollment for youth that live in these neighborhoods has begun in Hawthorne and will begin in Frogtown by July 1 of this summer. If you live in one of these neighborhoods and want to learn more about participating or volunteering, please visit the YFMP website, or contact YFMP Associate Director, Amanda Stoelb at To learn more about supporting YFMP’s expansion efforts, contact Executive Director, Gunnar Liden,

Welcome new West Side Program Director Emma Paskewitz

We are excited to introduce Emma Paskewitz as the new West Side Program Director. Emma began her work with YFMP in 2010 as a summer staff in the Lyndale Neighborhood, and was hired as the West Side Program Director in April of 2011. Emma, who graduated from the University of Minnesota last week, has a degree in Chicano Studies. Prior to her work at YFMP, Emma was involved in many youth and community organizing efforts through work at the Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network. She has also been an active Board Member of La Raza Student Cultural Center at the University of Minnesota. Emma is a fluent Spanish speaker and has received several awards for her community centered work. She served as a Peer Advisor in the Community Service-Learning Center at the University of Minnesota for 5 years. Emma was born and raised in Minneapolis. She has hit the ground running and is excited about meeting as many West Side residents and youth as possible over the next few weeks and months. She can be contacted at or 651.600.6099


Happy Birthday West Side St. Paul Program

Choua and Mai Ngia at the initial West Side farm in 2000

11 years ago today, the West Side of St. Paul YFMP had their first work day to create their initial farmsite. It was cold and wet, but we had a strong group of 10 kids and another 12 community volunteers as we spread 15 yards of compost over a 50’x30′ plot of land into our first West Side farm. Our first summer on the West Side, there was 1 small farm, 3 staff and 15 kids. In 2011, as we move into our 12th year on the West Side, we work with over 300 kids in the neighborhood in both the summer and school year programming, have 5 garden sites, a year round greenhouse, and are strong providers of healthy food to the neighborhood (over 3,000 lbs. last year). It is this kind of long term commitment to the youth of a neighborhood that results in lasting impact. Thanks to all those who have supported our efforts on the West Side and all our other neighborhoods. We look forward to all of our new adventures in the coming decade.

Farm Cooking in the Classroom

When you hear our name, Youth Farm and Market Project, you might think all we do is grow food, but cooking with youth and families has become such an important part of our work.  Check out this article written by Jessica Henrikson in the Minneapolis

Building Successful Youth Gardens Training

YFMP staff are collaborating with Gardening Matters, Community Design Center of MN, U of M Landscape Arboretum, and Midwest Food Connection to present about elements of Building Successful Youth Gardens. This 4 hour training will be held on Friday April 1st at Urban Ventures in S. Minneapolis. Please click here to find out more information and how to register.

Lead Outreach Planning

On Monday the Lyndale Lead were developing an outreach plan for a community food assessment. Here are a couple photos from the meeting, courtesy of Sally Hagler Peterson. More info from the Lead on the project to come…

Welcome to the new website!

We are ringing in the New Year with a new website that will make it easier for us to share news, events and programs of the Youth Farm and Market Project.

Check back often to see what we have been up to!

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