We were thrilled to get an email from a Frogtown parent that shared their daughter’s love for the 2015 summer program.
” Annabel had an amazing experience this summer. When I asked her what she liked best about YouthFarm, she said “I feel grown up there. I have responsibilities.” Thank you to you and your great staff! Here’s a photo of Annabel eating dinner last night. We ordered pizza. She decided that she’d rather have collards. She didn’t touch the pizza. 🙂 ️”
The feeling is mutual Annabel. We are lucky to call you and your family a Youth Farm Family!
Week 5 in Frogtown was filled with sweet moments. After learning about compost we had our annual “compost eating” competition between Youth Farmers and staff. We ate watermelon and learned about backyard chickens with a Youth Farm parent. Then we ended our week caring for abandoned kitties that got left at one of our farms. We can’t wait to see what the final week of program brings our way.
Youth Farm has 5 different Neighborhood Programs throughout the Twin Cities. Each summer we like to get together for a day of fun with our counterparts. Last Friday the Frogtown and West Side Programs had a St. Paul Picnic at Cherokee Park. We played and played and played, ate a wonderful summer lunch topped with Youth Farm veggies, and partook in some friendly competition of capture the flag.
Highlights were basketball, lightening, drip-drip-splash, soccer, wiffle-ball, water balloons, chalk art, and the scavenger hunt for Tyler’s Gold – complete with clues and take home golden nuggets.
Youth Farmers in Frogtown had so many highlights this past week. We welcomed guests to lunch and had awesome farm time. We had a guest artist show us how to make copper artwork, trellised beans, and got to explore Como Lake’s creatures with the MN Wildlife Refuge. All in a week’s fun at Youth Farm!
Summer program is off and running and you can see our Youth Farmers farming, harvesting, and cooking all over our five neighborhoods: Lyndale, Powderhorn, Hawthorne, Frogtown, and West Side. Biking and bike safety play a big role in helping us move throughout our neighborhoods. The Frogtown Bikers practiced to earn their bike safety “badges” yesterday as they biked to their Pierce Butler farm.
Today marked the first day of Youth Farm’s 21st year of summer programming! Youth Farmer’s enjoyed the beautiful weather on our farm-sites and some tasty spanakopita, hummus, and greek salad on today’s lunch menu.
As is often said, a picture is worth a 1,000 words, so here are some pictures of Youth Farmers celebrating the start of the summer program.
When you say you are a Minnesota-based non-profit that grows food to develop young leaders, you receive a lot of puzzled looks followed by the question “What does Youth Farm do during the winter?” Well, the truth is, we do a lot!
Yes, Minnesota winters are long and cold, which shortens our growing season; however, the time we spend indoors during winter is a vital part of our programs. Of course, we continue running our school-year programs, which includes after-school cooking classes and greenhouse classes (did we mention we have a greenhouse that grows food year-round!?). More importantly, the winter is a time for us to reflect on our work from the previous fall and summer, as well as to plan and prepare for the upcoming spring and summer. This means, by the first sign of spring, we are ready to hit the ground running!
Here are a handful of Youth Farm highlights from this past January:
Our Project LEAD in each neighborhood met weekly to focus on skill-building and planning for upcoming programming and growing season. This included meeting with community partners to discuss food distribution goals, planning our farms, and reflecting on & practicing youth work skills and strategies. Project LEAD also plan for the week’s classes during these meetings.
At our greenhouse in St. Paul’s West Side neighborhood, Youth Farm led weekly classes where youth grew herbs, lettuce, and start seedlings that will be used at our farms in spring and summer.
Youth Farm’s after-school cooking classes were in full-swing! During these classes Youth Farmers learned basic cooking skills, while All-Stars learned to cook with new foods and worked on perfecting recipe favorites.
Our Program Directors also worked with youth during in-school hours. For instance, our Hawthorne Program Director worked with a group of 4th graders who are using grow lights to grow plants indoors and with a group of 3rd graders to link their garden to classroom goals with what they eat at lunch.
The students at Jackson Elementary in Saint Paul helped create an Easy Pho Recipe for the days when we don’t have more than an hour to cook together. They gave this recipe the thumbs up last week in their Youth Farm after school program and we are sure you will too!
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 small onion
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 piece peeled ginger
4 cups beef broth
1 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 scallion, thinly sliced
pinch of salt
precooked rice noodles (about a handful for each bowl)
thinly sliced jalepeño
Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion, cut side down, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden, 3–4 minutes.
Add 2 cups water, broth, star anise, and cinnamon; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 7–8 minutes. simmer 2 minutes. Add scallion. Season with a pinch of salt.
Meanwhile, wash 1 cup bean sprouts, chop up basil, and one jalapeño pepper if you like spicy food (you can leave this out)
Put noodles in your bowl.
Take out the ginger, garlic, star anise, and cinnamon and throw them in your garbage bowl. Compost any veggie scraps and ladle broth into bowls. Garnish with bean sprouts, basil and jalapeño . You can also add siracha (spicy), hoisin (sweet), and fish sauce (savory sauce).
Last night Lyndale and Frogtown Project LEAD had the opportunity to tour Coop Partners Warehouse. “What’s interesting about a warehouse tour?” you might ask. Well, our crew got to chew on limequats, taste test local and california carrots, advocate for employment in produce quality control, raid the free distribution stacks of produce, see where we source summer lunch ingredients, run from banana spiders, and breakdown the economics of food production. It was an incredibly interesting and FUN field trip hosted by Rhys Williams, who is a great friend to Youth Farm and the local food movement. Thanks Rhys and CPW!
Mr. Seitu Jones. The Youth Farmers in Frogtown and most of the residents know him as the friendly face riding his bike through the neighborhood. Mr. Jones is more than just a friendly greeter to the community, he is a pillar in the arts community and an activist in the food access movement. Youth Farmers have worked with him in the past to dream up ideas for a mobile community kitchen and to be involved in the CREATE: The Community Meal event this past summer. As a guest artist to the Summer Program in Frogtown Seitu has used his talents to teach kids about clay firing and has even stored ongoing art projects in his home studio. We are very lucky to have him as connection to the Frogtown community. Thank you for all you do Mr. Jones!