Skip to Content

August 4, 2023 | Education

Summer Stories: Youth Development Program, Week 6

How can we make the world a better place? That was just one of the topics explored by our students this week.

The Youth Development Program is a paid opportunity for high-school-age students to develop and hone various skills in preparation for life beyond the classroom. The summer session is called the Seed Crew, and is 8 weeks of working, learning, and connecting as a team.

We’re just over halfway through the Youth Development Program and we’ve seen so much progress and growth! This week, the students participated in many mindful activities as well as farm work.

On Monday, we spent the morning harvesting random potatoes that have popped up around the farm, and as well as some broccoli. The onions we harvested a while ago have now dried, so a group of students trimmed off the tops for convenience and selling, while leaving a little bit so the onions stay fresh. We all spent some time weeding between the carrots and parsnips so we have a nice clean plot to plant kohlrabi. After lunch, we did a journaling activity that prompted everyone to remember when they were a kid and what their goals, dreams, and interests were. We then talked about what those are now and how even though they can seem vastly different, we still share some of those deep intentions and dreams we had as a child.

On Tuesday morning we all took some time to think about a mural design for our big Adirondack chair. After presenting our ideas, we split into a few groups to do some farm work. Some harvested carrots, some weeded around our huge Adirondack chair, and some did a little bit of trash pickup around the farm. We also had a group of students start sanding and repainting the big chair so it’s all ready for the mural. After lunch, we did a journaling activity where everyone thought about changing the world. Each student came up with three things they thought they would change to make the world a better place. Some of their ideas were big and broad, and some were small, but either way, they all wanted to make a positive impact for a group of people. We discussed how even though we feel like sometimes problems seem way too big to change, we can start by making small differences in our own community and for the people around us.

Wednesday was a big baking and making day! We made zucchini bread in the morning in our farmhouse so we could sell it at the farmers market on Thursday. We also harvested more potatoes, and then weighed the carrots and potatoes from the last few days. Those went into bags and were ready to be sold. After eating lunch, we all headed over to Groundswell Cafe to work with the cafe director Philip. He showed us how to prepare kohlrabi to be pickled. We all got to take part in cutting the kohlrabi and preparing the jars for pickling. Those are in the fridge and will be ready to enjoy in just about a week.

On Thursday we were thankful for the cloudy weather. In the morning, we harvested tomatillos and cleaned the bathrooms to get ready for the market. A group of students went over the big chair to make sure it was fully painted and done. We went to the farmhouse to shred fresh zucchini and a few students were pitting cherries so we could make delicious value-added products. After lunch, we had a competition to see who could come up with an amazing recipe using food from the farm. The students were in pairs of two and thought about the price of ingredients, what vegetables they wanted, how long it would take to make it, how it would be packaged, and the shelf life. We’re even going to make a few of their ideas!

We only have two more weeks of Youth Development left and I can’t wait to see what it will bring!