The Food Project is a sustainable agriculture program that focuses on youth leadership and empowerment.
They have city farms in inner-urban Boston along with rural farms in the surrounding countryside in Massachusetts. We took the commuter train out to Lincoln to see what they do.
The Food Project operates a Summer Youth Program, in which young people spend time working on both the city and rural farms. The produce grown is sold at a farmer's market in Boston and distributed through CSA boxes from their Lincoln farm. There's a lot to like about the way the Food Project runs their program. For starters, the young people are paid for the summer, so they are not forced to choose between being involved in the program or finding a summer job. There is a strong focus on diversity, recruiting youth from urban, suburban and rural areas and from a variety of cultural backgrounds. They sign a strict work contract. If they are late, they lose a certain amount of money - which they can regain by being on time every day for 2 weeks.
The summer program youth rotate between both the Lincoln and Dorchester sites, either working the farms for produce for the CSA boxes or to sell at the Farmer's market in downtown Boston. The Food Project spends substantial time on both Agricultural workshops and Social workshops on topics such as 'Diversity'. This is the dual focus on youth leadership and sustainable agriculture in action!
The Food Project also run an Academic Year Program with the D.I.R.T crew (Dynamic, Intelligent, Responsible Teenagers) and Internships. These interns are braiding garlic in one of the greenhouses at the Lincoln Farm.
A local beekeeper looks after the beehives, which are an important part of the food web/fertilization process.