Rooted in the Community: Sustainable Ag Youth Summer Camp

Progress report for YENC22-174

Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2022: $4,605.00
Projected End Date: 01/15/2024
Grant Recipient: Carl Sandburg College
Region: North Central
State: Illinois
Project Manager:
Ellen Burns
Carl Sandburg College
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Project Information


"Rooted in the Community" is a summer camp program for youth in the west-central region of Illinois hosted by Carl Sandburg College, based in Galesburg. The free, two-day camp introduces children aged 9-12 to sustainable agriculture practices, purposes, and careers. The camp staff works with local farmers, community gardeners, nutritionists, and ag educators to teach campers about sustainable agriculture through hands-on activities, field trips, and educational presentations. The 2022 camp will explore sustainable community farming, distribution, and practice. Sandburg will host two summer camps, two-days each, open to youth throughout the district.

Project Objectives:
  1. Introduce youth to sustainable community ag practices and purposes through hands-on activities in the Galesburg Community Garden and field trips to local farms.
  2. Provide information on careers in sustainable agriculture through meetings with farmers and educational presentations from ag educators.
  3. Encourage youth to shop locally and capitalize on nutritional benefits by learning about healthy eating practices and how to prepare nutritious meals.
  4. Ensure equitable access to sustainable agriculture education by working with community stakeholders to offer Rooted in the Community free to all participating campers.  
  5.  Share project results through social media, radio interviews, press releases, website publications, and conference seminars.


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Educational & Outreach Activities

6 On-farm demonstrations
5 Tours
2 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

3 Farmers/ranchers
13 Youth
1 Educators
4 Farmers participated
Education/outreach description:
    7/26 Tuesday 7/27 Wednesday
Pre Survey 9-9:30
Soil, Plant Processes, Types of Crops 9-10 C204
Travel 20 min 9:30-9:50
Spurgeon Garden 9:50-10:30
Sandburg Green House 10-11
Travel 30 min 10:30-11
Trillium Dell Farm 11-12
Sandburg Community Garden 11-12
Lunch (at Trillium Dell Farm) 12 - 12:30
Lunch 12-12:30 E124
Travel 44 min 12:30-1:15
Travel 15 min 12:30-12:45
Cornucopia 12:45-1:15
Belted Cow Orchard 1:15-2:15
Travel 15 min 1:15-1:30
Monarch Butterfly 1:30-2:30 C204
Travel 44 min 2:15-3
Certificate Ceremony 2:30-3 C102

Camp Day 1

Camp Day 2


Learning Outcomes

13 Youth reporting change in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness
Key changes:
  • Higher interest in pursuing a career in agriculture.

  • Gained skills and knowledge about sustainability in agriculture.

  • Higher interest in starting a garden at home.

  • Higher interest in participating in agriculture youth camps in the future.

Project Outcomes

5 Number of youth considering a career in sustainable agriculture
5 New working collaborations
Increased organizational support to explore and teach sustainable ag:
Explanation for change in organizational support to explore and teach sustainable ag:

Trillium Dell Farm and Cornucopia Natural Market hosted a youth tour for the first time through this project. They expressed they would like to continue being involved in educating youth about sustainable agriculture.

Success stories:

Students who participated in this agriculture youth camp were from age 9 to 12. 

The pre and post-survey we conducted demonstrated the impact of this camp on students' perspectives in agriculture.

Students who have a garden at home were 7 of 13. In the post-survey, the 6 who currently do not have a garden at home answered that they would now like to start one at home. 

There were 5 students who answered that they were interested in pursuing a career in agriculture. In the post-survey, 3 more students answered that they are now interested in pursuing a career in agriculture.

10 out of 13 students answered in their post-survey that they want to come back to the agriculture camp next year.


Thank you for giving us this opportunity to educate our youth to visit local gardens, orchards, and farms. We were able to offer this full two-days quality camp for free to many youths who are underserved and are not able to afford youth camps that are normally pricy.

This camp encouraged our youth to grow an interest in sustainable farming as well as an appreciation of farmers and local markets.

Most importantly, during the last hour of the camp, there were three students who expressed that they now have an interest in pursuing a career in agriculture.

This camp surely is a great advocate for inspiring a new generation of farmers, ranchers, and consumers.

Information Products

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.