Star Farm Chicago's Youth with Special Needs and Developmental Disabilities Sustainability Initiative Summer 2019

Project Overview

Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2019: $3,910.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2021
Grant Recipient: Star Farm Chicago
Region: North Central
State: Illinois
Project Manager:
Stephanie Dunn
Star Farm Chicago
Project Co-Managers:
Cornelius Hodges
Star Farm Chicago


  • Fruits: berries (other)
  • Vegetables: greens (leafy), greens (lettuces)
  • Animals: bees


  • Animal Production: heritage breeds
  • Crop Production: cover crops, intercropping, pollinator habitat, postharvest treatment, seed saving, shade cloth, water storage
  • Education and Training: display, workshop, youth education
  • Farm Business Management: apprentice/intern training, community-supported agriculture, farmers' markets/farm stands, labor/employment, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: wildlife
  • Pest Management: cultivation, mulches - general, prevention
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture
  • Soil Management: composting, earthworms, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: community development, community planning, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, quality of life, social capital, urban agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

    Special needs youth and youth with developmental disabilities will grow, market, and sell produce at our farmstand, learn cultivation, business, and community relation skills key to financial sustainability in urban agriculture while creating equitable access to fresh organic produce.

    Youth will perform farmwork informed by concepts of sustainable farming and workdays at local farms. During farmstand, students will lead tours of the farm, perform cooking demonstrations, and manage sales and data. Youth will regularly share experiences via social media.  

    Youth will contribute to the 2019 Community Cookbook with essays, photos, and recipes. Youth will exhibit project findings at the Harvest Festival.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Encourage Special Needs Youth to develop leadership skills through leading farm tours and designing cooking demonstrations for the farmstand 
    2. Provide hands-on organic farming experience in the growing, harvesting, and packing of culturally-relevant crops
    3. Give youth experience in community outreach and advertising using social media and direct marketing
    4. Create a product—the Community Cookbook—to share the success of the farmstand (pounds of produce sold, income generated, customer attendance), and community impact (youth reflections, customer testimonies, recipes)
    5. Educate Youth on inclusivity and active listening to sustain a positive, safe, and welcoming environment at the farm and farmstand



    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.