Farmers for Chicago: Youth Corps

In partnership with After School Matters, our Youth Corps teen job training program engages and employs over 200 youth annually across our farms, which serve as a safe spaces for teens to explore their interests, work collectively, share their talents, learn from one another, and develop skills that they can apply to school, work, and life.  During their time spent on our farms, our Youth Corps ambassadors expand their understanding of many aspects of urban farming, community food system, and business development through a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) curriculum.

The Youth Corps program aims to serve as both a job training experience and to encourage leadership development. It’s our goal that teens graduate with a comprehensive understanding of sustainable food system development and the ability to connect and communicate how the skills they’ve gained at the farm translate to any career path they may follow.

CURRICULUM

Our hands-on STEAM curriculum is centered around:

  • Growing organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers by participating in all stages of production, from seeding to harvesting
  • Composting and prepping growing beds
  • Creating value-added products from the produce, such as teas and candles
  • Learning to market and sell produce and value-added products

To compliment hands-on instruction at the farm, Youth Corps ambassadors explore the science behind farming through several inquiry-based experiments. Teens also take part in nutrition, hunger, cooking, art, food justice, and food politics activities.

At our Roosevelt Square location, youth also manage an on-site farm stand, increasing access to fresh, healthy, affordable produce for their community and providing a window into the economic and entrepreneurial opportunities that exist within food system development.

ELIGIBILITY

In order to apply for our Youth Corps program, teens must be:

  • At least 14 years old and have graduated from 8th grade
  • Enrolled in CPS High School in the fall (unless the teen just graduated high school and has participated in After School Matters before)
  • A Chicago resident

Applications for our spring 2021 program have closed.

THOUGHTS FROM OUR TEENS

 

“Because of this program, I was able to both pay for myself and better myself mentally, physically, and socially and I made new friends. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!”

-Justin

 

“Thank you for this great opportunity for me to get a feel of a work environment. This experience will benefit me for the rest of my life. I have learned to work with others, time management and interviewing skills. You have given me lifelong memories this summer and a little spending money.”

-Augustin

 

“I really enjoyed myself and learned a lot about farming. I don’t know what I would have done without this program. I am grateful for what I was able to experience. I really improved my speaking, communication and farming skills. I loved coming to the farm and working in the warm sun. I got to meet new people and all this wouldn’t have been possible without you.”

-Karen

Questions?

Contact us at info@urbangrowerscollective.org or (773) 376-8882.