Youth Farm, originally called the Youth Farm and Market Project, was established in 1995 by David Brant and Karen Lehman. Its purpose was to create an urban environment where youth could flourish physically, socially and emotionally as they mature into adults. Over the past 20 years, more than 5,000 youth have participated. They’ve raised and distributed over 100,000 pounds of produce and have cooked and prepared more than 40,000 healthy meals. Youth Farm has employed over 100 teenagers through its Project LEAD program and a growing number of organizational staff and leadership come from within the local neighborhoods.
Youth Farm runs four sessions throughout the year, each lasting eight weeks. The programs offer a variety of opportunities for the youth to participate in farming and greenhouse activities, meal cooking and preparation, and other community-based projects. Youth can enter the program at 9 years of age and continue until they reach the age of 24.
Youth Farm uses a neighborhood-based approach to grow and develop youth. This approach gives youth, staff, volunteers, families and neighborhoods the opportunity to engage. All the youth in the program live or go to school in the neighborhoods they serve. Youth Farm is committed to remaining a free resource for youth and families in the Lyndale, Hawthorne and Powderhorn neighborhoods in Minneapolis and the West Side and Frogtown neighborhoods in St. Paul