Farmers for Chicago: Youth Corps

In partnership with After School Matters, our Youth Corps teen job training program engages over 180 youth annually. Across our farms, which serve as a safe spaces, teens 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 urban farming, community food systems, 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.


Our hands-on STEAM curriculum is centered around:

  • Growing organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers
  • Composting and prepping growing beds
  • Creating value-added products, such as teas and candles
  • Learning to market and sell value-added products
  • Leading tours of our urban farms

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 and South Chicago farms, our Youth Corps manage on-site farms 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.


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

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!”



“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.”



“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.”



Reach out at or (773) 376-8882.