THE YOUTH FARM is an outdoor classroom and green job incubator site for HSPS, SDL and other visiting students! We work to provide a space for real hands on and interdisciplinary training in green job skills. Classes on the farm also help to engage students who struggle to maintain focus or thrive in a traditional classroom setting. Out on the farm, students engage their brains and bodies simultaneously. Discussions about food justice and our own food options heighten the experiences of digging, planting and harvesting!
In 2015-2016 our Go Green! class, Farm Club, and Youth Leadership Council will engage in organizing work with their peers, community members, and other urban and rural farmers via an asset-based mapping project surveying student and community issues, to help reclaim the health and agency of their bodies, minds, and environment. Students in these programs will visit Wingate lunch periods, as well as local Senior Centers, Housing facilities, residential blocks, corner stores, supermarkets, and other community centers, interviewing Crown Heights residents and business owners to gain a sense of the assets present in the community as well as the needs. Learning from their neighbors, these students will collectively discuss and determine what resources and systems are working for the community, and where gaps and needs are. They will brainstorm ideas to alleviate issues such as underemployment, lack of access to affordable, quality food, and land displacement and will create strategies for implementation of with their peers. This work will help us to build new bonds across the Crown Heights community, develop new farm programs or systems that better address community needs, and will help our students analyze issues they identify in their community, and empower them to create comprehensive strategies that they can implement.