Harvest Fest sneak peek

Chef Emily stands amid piles of produce and groceries in preparation to cook up the Lyndale Harvest Fest Feast!
The farms are nearly weed free all set for farm tours!
A sneak peek from summer lunch of some of the Youth Farm favorite dishes that our chefs and youth are cooking up: greek salad and hummus on the menu on the West Side

How much food does it take to feed 800 Youth Farmers and community members?

So far 3 carloads and we are only just beginning! Harvest Fest Season is here! The menus are set, the farms are getting their finally weeding, and Lyndale Chef Emily is already cooking with the mountain of produce and food that was delivered to all 4 kitchens this morning.  See you there.

Lyndale Harvest Festival – August 10th 5:30-7:30 pm – Zion Lutheran Church – 128 W. 33rd St., Minneapolis 55408

Powderhorn Harvest Festival – August 11th 5:30 – 7:30 pm – Powderhorn Park – 3400 15th Ave. S. Minneapolis 55408

Frogtown Harvest Festival – August 12th 4:00 – 6:30 pm – 739 Lafond Ave. St. Paul 55104

West Side Harvest Festival – August 12th 4:00 – 6:00 pm – La Puerta Abierta – 690 Livingston Ave. S., St. Paul 55107

We hope to see you at these events. Questions about Minneapolis Harvest Festivals, call 612.990.9261 and questions about St. Paul Harvest Festivals, call 651.325.7453

West Side says goodbye to Alice Martin

West Side Youth Farm has had a fantastic summer so far and as Youth Farm continues into week seven there is new leadership budding. This year, the West Side program has experienced the change that comes as our program grows and our leaders move into other opportunities. We all felt this bitter-sweetness together when we said goodbye to long time program participant and Farm Steward Alice Martin this summer. Alice started in the program as a Youth Farmer and has helped the organization develop the Farm Stewards model.  She has been an inspiring contributor to the program and is well loved by our community partners on the West Side where she could be found in cooking classes and helping run our greenhouse. Staff and youth alike will miss Alice’s adaptable nature and her ability to connect with youth when they are struggling. We will miss her greatly but we are excited to wish her well as she moves to Hawaii to study and surely do great things. Thanks for all you have done Alice!


Charlot-Man of Epic Tales

If you have been to a Powderhorn Youth Farm program or community event in the last 8 years chances are you have met Charlot and experienced the creative expression that has been the hallmark of his time at Youth Farm. Charlot began his Youth Farm journey in 2008. His early years in the program included trips to Farm Camp and days spent reading while gardening (yes, WHILE gardening…and walking….and eating). His love of a good book fueled his creative expressions. Soon he was not reading others’ tales, but writing his own and incorporating his creative expressions into Youth Farm focus groups like the zine group, martial arts, and movement and dance. Throughout the years, he was often seen with a younger group of Youth Farmers, inspiring and mentoring them to also follow their own creative passions.

Not only did Charlot pave his own path but he also found ways to apply creativity to the Youth Farm way of doing youth work. He plays dodge ball without touching the ball, applies permaculture practices to the redesign of our farm spaces, and incorporates finger weaving into after school cooking classes.

While I have known Charlot for years and have been witness to the talents of this “man of epic tales”, I had the honor this year to work side by side with Charlot in the Powderhorn neighborhood. I experienced firsthand his dedication to his community as he poured time and energy into redesigning our Ba’hai Farm space (a space he has contributed to for the last 5 years). I learned from him the best practices and things that make the Powderhorn program unique. He supported the program as we transitioned in new staff helping to build our Green Central hoop house and stepping into increased leadership roles leading his own farm groups and focus groups. He mentored younger Project LEAD demonstrating dedication, thoughtfulness, and a passion to make his community better through creativity and hard work.

While Charlot’s official time at Youth Farm comes to a close as he moves on to college, he has left a lasting mark on our Powderhorn Program. His contributions helped to foster a culture of creativity that makes the program uniquely Powderhorn.



*This post is part of a series of posts recognizing Youth Farm’s graduating seniors. It was written by Associate Director Amanda Stoelb*


Meet the St. Paul Farm Stewards!

As we wrap up our first week of summer program, we are celebrating by hosting a family day on the West Side, visiting our new partners Frogtown Farm, visiting with former Lyndale Farm Steward Shanna, and eating Pad Thai for lunch! We are honored to have witnessed the leadership of our Farm Stewards this week as they led summer program. For the last round of staff introductions, please meet your St. Paul Farm Stewards Alice Martin, Teng Lee, and AJ Zozulin!

Alice has been part of Youth Farm for nearly as long as Youth Farm has been on the West Side. This is her 16th summer!  She has played almost every role at Youth Farm from Project LEAD to Farm Steward to Summer Chef. She brings with her not only a passion for the work, but also a kind heart and gentle personality that connects deeply with the youth she serves. She, alongside Teng Lee and a cohort of other young adults, developed Youth Farm’s Farm Steward Program. She has played an integral role on the West Side most recently serving as the Interim Director this year. Alice is currently the Greenhouse Manager and Summer Staff on the West Side. Learn more about Alice and how to contact her here.

Teng first jumped on board with Youth Farm in 2011 as a summer staff. He brought with him years of gardening experience from partner organization Urban Roots. During his first year, he worked alongside fellow Farm Steward Alice and a cohort of other young adults to develop Youth Farm’s Farm Steward Program. In addition to his experience at Youth Farm, Teng also works in childcare and community organizing. He bring with him contagious energy, thoughtfulness, and a true passion for the youth he engages with. Teng is the Summer Program Manager for the West Side neighborhood and is the on-site contact for youth and families in that program. Learn more about Teng here.

AJ joined the Youth Farm team in 2011, Youth Farm’s first summer in the Frogtown Neighborhood. He has returned year after year as a summer staff and returns this year as a Farm Steward and Summer Program Manager in the Frogtown Neighborhood. AJ brings with him his strong organization and leadership skills, a passion for food and farming (he also works at Trotter’s Cafe, a cafe that has long supported local, fresh food), and a strong desire to learn from the youth he serves. AJ is the Summer Program Manager for the Frogtown Neighborhood and is the on-site contact for youth and families in that program. Learn more about AJ here.



AJ’s enthusiasm for lunch leaves him in shock!
Farm Stewards Teng, Jesus, and Alice
Alice and her signature brightly colored hair prep the lettuce harvest with the West Side crew.
AJ works in Frogtown Youth Farm’s first farm site.

Meet the South Minneapolis Farm Stewards!

Summer is underway at Youth Farm led by our incredible team of Farm Stewards. Meet your South Minneapolis Farm Stewards Zainab Youngmark, Jesus Perez, and Demetrius Hro-Gant!

Zainab joined the Youth Farm team in the Powderhorn neighborhood when she was young. Throughout the years, she served as a Project LEAD staff and also helped to develop Powderhorn’s after school cooking classes. Zainab is the Summer Program Manager for the Powderhorn neighborhood and is the on-site contact for youth and families in that program. Learn more about Zainab here.

Jesus has been involved in the Lyndale Youth Farm Program for over 10 years. As part of the inaugural Farm Stewards Program in 2011, he helped to develop the program into what it is today: an opportunity for program graduates to have increased leadership roles and serve as mentors to younger youth participants. Jesus is the Summer Program Manager for the Lyndale neighborhood and is the on-site contact for youth and families in that program. Learn more about Jesus here.

Demetrius joined the Youth Farm team last summer as a summer staff. Prior to joining Youth Farm, Demetrius gained valuable experience in youth work and food justice through his roles at Beacons, the Cultural Wellness Center, and HOPE Community.  In his role as Farm Steward, Demetrius manages the farms in the Lyndale and Powderhorn neighborhoods and is a summer staff in the Powderhorn neighborhood.

Look for the South Minneapolis Farm Stewards through the Lyndale and Powderhorn neighborhoods this summer!


New Farm Steward Demetrius practiced bed prepping, seeding, and trellissing snap peas in Lyndale
 Demetrius practiced bed prepping, seeding, and trellissing snap peas in Lyndale and pauses to take a moment to admire his progress. 
Jesus and Zainab celebrate getting all the hoops up and secured!
Jesus and Zainab celebrate getting all the hoops up and secured in Youth Farm’s new hoop house at Green Central.

Welcome Hawthorne Farm Stewards!

Meet your Hawthorne Farm Stewards: Sergio and Divine!

Sergio has been a part of Youth Farm since our first year in the Hawthorne Neighborhood in 2011 and is one of the youth founders of our Hawthorne Program. As a middle school student at Nellie Stone Johnson Community School, Sergio built the school garden, organized with other students the school’s composting program, and helped Youth Farm grow its program on the Northside. He returns this year as a Farm Steward and Co-Manager of Youth Farm’s Nellie Stone Johnson Farm.  Learn more about Sergio and how to contact him here.

Divine joined the Hawthorne Youth Farm team 3  years ago and brought with her passion and experience in gardening in her community. Prior to her time at Youth Farm, she worked with Project Sweetie Pie. Divine’s passion for gardening is contagious and extends to the youth she serves in our program. Divine returns this year as a Farm Steward and Co-Manager of Youth Farm’s Nellie Stone Johnson Farm.  Learn more about Divine and how to contact her here.

We are excited to have Sergio and Divine team up to grow food on the Northside and engage youth at Nellie Stone Johnson.


Sergio and Divine celebrate a successful school year farming season on the last day of Minneapolis Public Schools with a garden party!

Meet our Amazing Staff!

As we gear up for our 22nd summer, we at Youth Farm want to take a moment to reintroduce and acknowledge our staff that dedicate so much time, expertise, and passion to the youth and families in our Youth Farm neighborhoods.

Meet Director of St. Paul Programs Sarah Sarzoza and Director of South Minneapolis Programs Phil Rooney!

Sarah joined the Youth Farm team 2 years ago as our Frogtown Program Director. She brought with her a wealth of experience in youth development and community organizing as well as a love for the neighborhood she grew up in (Frogtown). In her new role as Director of St. Paul programs, Sarah is the first point of contact for families and community partners in our West Side and Frogtown Neighborhoods. Additionally, her role will focus on leadership development and training in both Frogtown and the West Side. Learn more about Sarah and how to contact her here

Phil is entering his 10th summer with Youth Farm. He began his work with Youth Farm on the West Side and served as the Lyndale Program Director for 6 years prior to becoming Director of South Minneapolis Programs. In addition to his experience at Youth Farm, Phil brings with him strong leadership and youth development experience. In his role as Director of South Minneapolis Programs, Phil is the first point of contact for families and community partners in our Powderhorn and Lyndale Neighborhoods. Additionally, his role will focus on leadership development and training in both Powderhorn and Lyndale. Learn more about Phil and how to contact him here.

We are honored that Phil and Sarah choose to share their talents with Youth Farm and are excited to have their leadership. Look for them throughout their Youth Farm neighborhoods next week as we start our summer program!


Sarah and the Frogtown crew relax (with some chickens!) after a day of farm work.
Phil demonstrates transplanting in Youth Farm’s Powerhorn Park garden

Thank You Amm-Ra!

Version 2

You wouldn’t think that running uphill on all fours would be fun after gardening all morning, But it’s a common event during Powderhorn lunchtimes. Amm-ra started these quadruped races and when not playing himself is often talking or sketching with the youth. Drawings are brought out and discussed, tips given, jokes and stories told. The group breaks down in the mad rush after seconds are called, but re-forms around Amm-ra in a few minutes. He is a steady presence, going about the tasks of the day with a wry grin and a joke. His humor and engagement brings many together, making the work light and the days memorable.

I’ve worked with Amm-ra for three years and known him for many more. He brings his ideas and dedication to the community as a whole, working as an artist and actor at Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask theater, as staff for Adventures in Cardboard and all around volunteer-about-powderhorn.

He’s been a longtime participant of Youth Farm, a fixture of the program we have come to count on. He started Youth Farm 2008 as the Comi-con King of Baha’i farm, and has been consistent, from participant to All-Star to LEAD, working tirelessly on what ever is the task at hand. It has been my privilege to work, and play, with him as he grew into the LEAD staff we are proud of today.

Amm-ra has graduated from South and plans to attend MCTC and keep himself involved in the Powderhorn community in the fall, but until then… Here’s to one more summer of running up hills.

*This post is part of a series of posts recognizing Youth Farm’s graduating seniors. It was written by Powderhorn Project LEAD Charlot Shaw*

Calla-a passion for all things food

Calla started at Youth Farm as a participant in the West Side summer program in 2012. She spent her first day that summer looking bored, not participating, and projecting a “too cool” persona. After transitioning to the All-Star group later that week her interests, skills, and passions started to show.  That summer she took on every leadership opportunity available to her. She then applied to be a part of the LEAD program and quickly became an active member of the West Side staff team.

Calla has a passion for all things related to food and especially for being in the Youth Farm kitchen.  Her dedication to cooking is apparent to anyone who has had the pleasure of working through a menu with her. This past summer Calla contributed to our program’s success in numerous ways, most notably as the direct apprentice to our summer chef and also as an activity group leader. She started her days in the kitchen washing and chopping produce, preparing work stations, and teaching youth as young as 9 years old how to cook. Calla, along with the summer Chef and 4-5 youth prepared the lunches that fueled our summer program. A program that regularly had 70 or more youth and staff, many of them lining up immediately for seconds. After lunch she transitioned to leading an afternoon activity group called “The Adventurers”. To help create a welcoming community, a cornerstone of good youth work, Calla created individual journals for each of the youth in her group so they could track their summer time learning and fun.

Calla is graduating this year from Highland Park Senior High School in St. Paul.  This fall Calla will be enrolled at the University of Minnesota, specifically in the Food Systems program within the College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences..  We wish her the best and look forward to her returning to YF to share her new knowledge.  

Calla, hiding behind some Youth Farm bell peppers as she works her magic in the kitchen



*This post is part of a series of posts recognizing Youth Farm’s graduating seniors. It was written by former West Side Program Director Tyler Berres*