Final report for YENC22-173
Young Grow Getters is a paid, six-week intensive hands-on youth agriculture program that is led by industry professionals in sustainable farming, culinary arts, food production, and technology. The program offers real-world experiences and career-readiness skills, along with a robust curriculum to teach students the vital aspects of urban agriculture.
The selected students will be involved in all aspects of Growing Places Indy, which includes farm planning, planting, finance, maintenance, harvest, and distribution. They will fully engage in the Indianapolis food system as they will work on other urban farms and meet local leaders in the food and farming community.
The program idea was developed by understanding effective programs for accomplishing our mission and collecting feedback from past participants and critical partners. This program objectives include:
- Break the cycle of poverty of young people and expose them to new career opportunities within agriculture through hands-on learning and networking opportunities from experienced farmers, chefs, and industry professionals.
- Build long-term economic self-reliance and food security among participants and their communities by increasing the farming skills of high school students.
- Increase sustainable urban agriculture skills of high school students through hands-on experience and in-class curriculum taught by skilled farmers.
Educational & Outreach Activities
Young Grow Getters - A Recap of our 2022 Program
Butler CUE Farm 6/27/22
On the first field trip of the program, the Young Grow Getters learned the concept of permaculture and what it means to crop plan to foster an eco-system that benefits all. The students were able to draw connections to our farming practices.
Flanner House Farm 7/6/22
At Flanner House Farms the Young Grow Getters received a lesson in the rich history of the Flanner Ransom House neighborhood. The participants learned of the soil contamination problem in many urban areas in our city and saw firsthand the ways soil amending and alternative ways of farming are beneficial in urban spaces. The Young Grow Getters were able to learn more about food deserts in Indianapolis and the efforts Flanner House Farm takes to reduce them.
Tyner Pond Farm 7/13/22
The Young Grow Getter made the trip to Greenfield to visit Tyner Pond Farms. To experience large-scale regenerative farming. The Young Grow Getters came face-to-face with turkeys, chickens, pigs, and grazing cows. In the end, the group was privileged to experience a meal prepared via products sourced directly from the Tyner Pond Farm.
Purdue Extension History of Agriculture & Building Local Food Systems Workshop 7/11/2022
Our young farmers engaged with the team at Purdue Extension to learn and discuss the history of agriculture and what food systems look like in Indianapolis. The students were able to connect the lecture concepts with aspects of our farm and what they had seen at community farms. They walked away with a substantive understanding of the local, Indianapolis food system.
Hydration Salad Cooking Demonstration 7/15/22
The Young Grow Getters transformed the produce they spent several weeks learning to grow and cultivate into a healthy meal with the help of Chef Twinkle. Implementing the use of fresh produce is another vital element the program encourages. In this workshop, the participants prepared the final lunch of the program for themselves and their families who were invited to celebrate their success and completion of the program.
Young Grow Getters form impactful, lasting relationships among one another and program staff during the six-week cohort. Weeks of team-reliant farm work shared experiences, and connection through daily check-ins forge meaningful and sustainable bonds.
The impact on the program participants and their feedback will play a vital role in the effectiveness and sustainability of the program.
Each Young Grow Getter completed an evaluation at the conclusion of the program. These evaluations measure skills learned during the program. These evaluations also provided participants the opportunity to share their experiences, and offer feedback on the program on how we can improve.
Evaluation of outcomes:
87% attendance rate for six weeks
7 farmers and food business owners met and
85 hours of farm skill exhibited by each student
68 hours of instruction/educational hours completed by each student
Using these data points and the feedback provided by participants we are able to determine the qualitative and quantitative impact of our program.
To date, 100% of participants report an increase in their skills/knowledge of urban farming practices. 70% of the 2022 Young Grow Getters anticipate returning to the farm in the summer of 2023 to be team leaders for our grade-school summer camp visiting groups.
Several of our parents enrolled in Growing Places Indy's Plant it Forward program which provides seeds, plant starts, and workshops that include home permaculture application, composting, and soil health.
The parents who enrolled attended workshops and began to incorporate the sustainable farming/gardening practices that they learned from workshops and with help from their young urban farming expert dependants.
One of our Young Grow Getters (YGG) came into the program already on his way to Purdue University to study Natural resources and Environmental Science. The YGG member was one of the two most hard-working and dedicated youth we have ever had in the program. After our 6-week program ended and well into their first semester this youth emailed to inform me that spending his summer at Growing Places Indy in the YGG program was the best way to spend his summer and the best headstart that he could have received.
We are very proud of that YGG member and all of the others that allow GOI to have an impact on their future.