Green Youth Farm, run by the Chicago Botanic Gardens, gives teens a summer job growing real food.
Green Youth Farm has a few different sites, but the one I visited is in a lower-income neighborhood, north of Chicago. A select crew of teens hired from local high schools get to learn about farming, running a business, working as a team and leading their peers.
Produce is marketed locally and supplements the program funding. A group of young, full-time staff members also work alongside the participants. They organize the training and keep farm operations going throughout the year.
Visiting in June, I got to see the early stages of the season: tilling the soil, weeding, planting….
The farm also has a bee colony that participants learn how to tend(in full beekeeper regalia).
Overall, I was really impressed by the positive vibe at the farm. People were having a good time, enjoying being outside and working hard together. I could imagine the great experience these young farmers were going to have during the summer, something to be proud of.