Youth Farm is excited to welcome our first School Partnership Coordinator Jordyn Ryan! Jordyn joined the Youth Farm team as a 9 year old participant in the West Side Program. Through the years she has taken on many roles at Youth Farm including roles as a Project LEAD and Farm Steward on the West Side. Jordyn recently received her degree in Elementary Education from UW River Falls. She brings a unique combination of skills including knowledge of classroom learning, curriculum development skills, and youth development skills to the role.
Jordyn’s role allows Youth Farm to build off of the strong school partnerships we currently hav to develop a model that reaches more students, teachers, and community members. Jordyn’s work includes supporting current school partnerships at Nellie Stone Johnson Community School, Lyndale School, Green Central School, Jackson Elementary School, Humboldt High School, Open World Learning Community, Northeast College Prep, and Cherokee Heights Elementary while also developing a model to support other schools to use food as a tool for youth development, social emotional learning, and academic success.
Welcome Jordyn! We are excited for you to move Youth Farm’s school partnership work forward.
Youth Farm is excited to announce Jesus Perez as our new Manager of South Minneapolis Programs! Jesus has been involved in the Lyndale Youth Farm Program for over 10 years as a youth participant, Project LEAD staff, and South Minneapolis Farm Steward. As part of the inaugural Farm Stewards Program in 2011, he helped to develop the program into what it is today, he worked with partners at Green Central and Lyndale School to build hoop houses and facilitate programming, organized in the Whittier Neighborhood, and hosted Lyndale’s popular Thursday cooking program while recruiting and developing relationships with youth.
Jesus is a compassionate and thoughtful youth worker. He brings creativity to the classes he facilitates, humor and mentorship to our staff team, and an eagerness to learn from the youth he serves and the community partners he works alongside.
Jesus will be the main contact for all Lyndale and Whittier programs and play a support role in Powderhorn and Central programs. We are honored that he chose to share his talents with Youth Farm and excited to see what he brings to the youth of South Minneapolis in his new role. Congratulations Jesus!
The Youth Farmers in our Humboldt/OWL cooking class have been cooking up a storm every Monday and Wednesday, so you can thank them for the snow! We recently made a big batch of Korean Black Noodles and rolled a bunch of sushi. Good food, good folks.
The St. Paul team of farm stewards, interns, and LEAD are up and running in the Wellstone kitchen, to start up our community cooking class. Last week we made a big pot of vegetarian chili, corn bread, and an apple pie!
All are welcome to join the class, every Tuesday 4-7pm. And if you’re around at that time, stop by the commercial kitchen to say hello and share a meal with us.
The crazy warm weather has allowed for harvesting produce far into fall. We have harvested the last of our kale, peppers, winter squash, radishes, kohlrabi, and collard greens. A work group from Conservation Corps joined us early on a Saturday to harvest 120 pounds of food! Some of the produce has been used in our cooking class at Humboldt/OWL, some has gone home with Youth Farmers and work groups, and the rest has been donated to the food shelf. The farms on the West Side are officially put to sleep until the spring!
The Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge is hosting a Youth Photo Contest and Lily, a Youth Farmer in Frogtown, is a participant! She took this photo of a Monarch Butterfly this summer during a Fun Friday activity at Como Lake.
Last week we kicked off fall programming with cooking classes in both our Lyndale and Powderhorn neighborhoods.
Farm Stewards Zainab and Jesus and youth from Lyndale and Powderhorn prepared amazing first meals using produce from our gardens. Egg plant parmesan started things off in Powderhorn for the Tuesday cooking class and zucchini chocolate cake with mocha frosting was on the menu in Lyndale’s Thursday class.
Know youth that live in the Powderhorn/Central or Lyndale neighborhoods that would like to participate in fall harvesting and cooking? Contact our Farm Stewards!
Join us this Saturday, May 21st, as we paint the new mural at Lyndale Elementary designed by Greta Alquist and Lyndale students. There will be free food and music, fun activities, and garden planting. The event is 11am to 1pm at Lyndale School, 312 W 34th St. See you there!
E-Don! Over the last three years as a Project LEAD E-Don was like a constant fountain of laughter and jokes. Every group benefits from having team members who will reach out and create a friendly, welcoming, and fun vibe. For Lyndale, E-Don held that role down. Her words instantly became catch phrases often imitated never replicated. “Getcha Getcha!” It has been an absolute joy knowing E-Don for the last five years. It has been one of the great rewards of working at Youth Farm seeing her grow into a mature young adult who is incredibly strong, with a vision for how she wants her life to be, and the self-advocacy to make it a reality.
Jessi says she still remembers the first time she met E-Don, hanging out at the wading pool over by Lyndale School. E-Don knew a couple of other All Stars from down the block, Ayan and Hodan. She started coming around our cooking classes and All Stars programs, but was never able to be around summer too much. She was one of our first LEAD who knew Youth Farm primarily through the school year and not the summer. Still, when she stepped into our summer program as a staff she had an immediate impact. One frequent visitor told me that every time she came by, she always saw E-Don positively engaged and talking with our youth no matter how hot or tired she was. That consistent attention to our young people at every turn really set her apart.
E-Don has recently moved on from us and from Minnesota. Though she still has a bit of school left, it still feels like she’s graduated from Youth Farm this spring. She’s held a consistent dream of becoming a police officer, and I look forward to hearing from her and supporting her as she pursues her next steps. Working with her brought to life our goals of building healthy relationships, and has so significantly impacted my work and life over the last two years. Thank you E-Don! We miss you already!
*This post is part of a series acknowledging the accomplishments and contributions of Youth Farm’s 2016 graduates. It was written by Director of South Minneapolis Programs, Phil Rooney*