Project LEAD pose with Minneapolis Council Member Don Samuels inside the hoop house at the SOCC Farm.

If there is one thing I’ll take away from my first year as Hawthorne Program director it is that springtime at Youth Farm is synonymous with busy! This spring has been jam packed with farm work days, cooking classes, Project LEAD meetings and community events. And despite the business, I’m reminded so often how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with such amazing young people. I don’t like to brag about myself, but I have no reservations boasting about all of the thing our youth have been working on this spring to prepare for our first full summer of Youth Farm programming in Hawthorne.


This spring we have spent some considerable time moving into our newest farm location located at Saint Olaf Community Campus. Hired in January, Hawthorne LEAD helped turn beds and plant the hoop house in early March with lettuce, carrots, spinach, peas,broccoli, radishes, beets, and cilantro.

Lot's of green! A picture of the hoop house taken on May 7, 2012.

Hawthorne All-Stars have also been working to help package and sell seeds in what we hope to establish as a yearly All Stars project. This summer we will save seeds from several crops to use in our own farms next year and to repackage and sell.

Some of the seed packets designed, packaged, and sold by Hawthorne All-Stars.

And as we move into the summer season, I continue to be grateful for the existing partnerships Youth Farm has in Hawthorne. Working closely with Nellie Stone Johnson Community School and the YMCA Beacon’s after school program, Youth Farm has been able to offer in class and after school programming to over 200 youth at NSJ alone. In these partnerships, Youth Farm helps set up grow labs in the school, start seedlings with youth ages 6 – 13, and incorporate hands on learning and outdoor experiential education into the classroom curriculum. With all of this momentum coming out of the school year, I’m truly looking forward to an incredible first summer of Youth Farm programming in Hawthorne!

NSJ Youth Farmers planting cabbage and collards on a windy, but sunny day in April.