YFS Sowing Opportunities for Youth Leadership (SOYL)

Project Overview

Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2023: $6,000.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2025
Grant Recipient: Youth & Family Services, Inc.
Region: North Central
State: South Dakota
Project Manager:
Sharon Oney
Youth & Family Services, Inc.


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: grazing - rotational, pasture renovation, range improvement, rangeland/pasture management
  • Crop Production: beekeeping, food processing facilities/community kitchens, no-till, pollinator habitat, pollinator health
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, focus group, mentoring, networking, youth education
  • Farm Business Management: farmers' markets/farm stands
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, soil stabilization
  • Pest Management: biological control, chemical control
  • Production Systems: aquaponics, dryland farming, hydroponics, integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture, organic certification, permaculture
  • Soil Management: composting, organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, leadership development, local and regional food systems

    Proposal abstract:

    The Youth Educator will implement Sowing Opportunities for Youth Leadership (SOYL) with at least 15 youth, ages 12-18. Participants will learn about sustainable agriculture through hands-on activities, visits with area producers who implement sustainable practices, and by developing their own projects. This approach will help them comprehend and recognize ecologically sound, economically viable, socially responsible agriculture. They will also explore the links between food justice, localized food systems, and sustainability. Our goal is to empower these youth to be change makers in the community and to consider careers in sustainable agriculture to help address critically important environmental and social issues.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. At least 15 middle and high school youth will participate in ten 1-hour lessons/activities about soil health, organic gardening practices, the food system, food justice, composting/vermicomposting, pollinators, soil-less alternatives, and permaculture.
    2. The youth will explore sustainable agriculture career options through field trips to 3-4 local farms/ranching operations and one visit to the Black Hills Farmers’ Market.
    3. 3. The youth will showcase their learning through facilitating a garden class with a group of younger kids to teach a sustainable agriculture practice or creating and presenting a group project on a sustainable agriculture practice to the larger group of participants.
    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.