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Developing young entrepreneurs in school gardens

NFSN Staff Thursday, June 16, 2016
 Photo credit: DC Greens
When schools let out for summer, many garden coordinators look for creative ways to keep school gardens thriving. Tapping into the enthusiasm, creativity and efforts of high schoolers can be a great way to maintain gardens when classes are out, and summer programs are an opportunity for students to gain valuable professional and entrepreneurial experience. From leadership to marketing and accounting to customer service, programs that hire students to tend school gardens offer countless benefits – for garden plants and young adults, both! 

Gather inspiration from this roundup of media stories highlighting several models of youth entrepreneurship programs in school gardens: 

Fellowship of the farm: Teens tend school garden through summer
The Spartan Urban Farm Fellowship pays high school students a stipend to work in the Corvallis High School garden three days a week during the summer. Produce grown in the garden is sold at a weekly farmers market hosted at a local elementary school. (Corvallis Gazette-Times, Oregon) 

Program takes school gardening to new level: entrepreneurship

A program at San Francisco’s June Jordan School For Equity is taking traditional school gardens to a new level, where the green isn’t only in the dirt or student diets, but also in their wallets. Students earn $10 an hour learning how to plant, harvest, cook and sell vegetables at a local farmer’s market. (SFGate, California) 

Youth In Agriculture Growing Beyond Farms 
Cleveland Botanical Gardens’ Green Corps hires high school youth to work 20 hours per week during summer months, where they learn about sustainable agriculture and community engagement by working on one of six urban farms. The youth education component of the program is an important element to agriculture in the city, as many of the students taking part have little-to-no outside growing experience. (Growing Produce, Ohio)

Healthy Eaters, Strong Minds: What School Gardens Teach Kids 
City Blossoms employs high school youth in Washington, D.C., to tend to gardens at schools and community centers with low access to fresh, healthy foods. Students then sell produce grown in the gardens at farmers markets, learning valuable business and money skills. (NRP, Washington, D.C.)

Alameda Students Bring Two School Gardens Back to Life
Thanks to high school students, gardens around Alameda, Calif., are springing back to life. Project Eat’s “Get Fresh! Eat Healthy!” internship hires about a dozen high school students in the summer to revitalize school gardens and develop skills that can translate into work opportunities later. (Alameda Patch, California)

Are youth helping to keep your school garden thriving this summer? Are you a high school student working on a school garden or farm this summer? Tell us about it! Use our story form to share how farm to school activities like school gardens are benefiting your community. 

Learn more about farm to school in summer by exploring resources in our Resource Library


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