Connecting Youth to Tradition, Land, and Food Sovereignty through Cooperative Sorghum Syrup Production

Project Overview

Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2024: $5,163.00
Projected End Date: 02/15/2026
Grant Recipient: Flotsam Farm
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Manager:
Amelia LaMair
Flotsam Farm


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

A multi-generational group of farmers, young people, and their
families will collaborate to plant, tend, harvest, and process
sweet sorghum into syrup. This project will teach kids
cooperative work, food sovereignty, organic agriculture. Monthly
workdays will be held throughout the season, culminating in a two
day "Syrup Camp" where participants harvest, cook, and bottle
syrup. In additional to hands-on learning. each workday will
include a sustainable agriculture lesson. We hope to produce
enough syrup to supply each family involved, and establish a
successful youth-led cooperative venture that continues a
long-time Ozarks tradition.


Project objectives from proposal:

1. Teach young people how to grow and process sorghum using
environmentally sustainable methods including integrated pest
management, soil testing, composting, organic gardening
practices, and appropriate technology.

2. Strengthen community bonds and food sovereignty by passing the
tradition of local, cooperative syrup-making to the next

3. Produce syrup for at least 10 local households, providing an
economically feasible alternative to highly refined sugars
produced far away and with a long and ongoing history of
questionable labor and environmental practices.

4. Document and share the project through local media, social
media, and 2 public presentations. 

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.