The Food Project's nationally recognized Youth Programs combine agriculture, enterprise, and service to create a rigorous, practical, and integrated experience. Teenagers from Greater Boston and the North Shore of eastern Massachusetts cultivate our urban and suburban farmland, participate in workshops, work with local hunger relief organizations, lead volunteers in the fields, and endeavor to expand community food access.
All participants are introduced to The Food Project through our Summer Youth Program (SYP). For six and a half weeks, they cultivate our urban and suburban farmland and serve their communities by helping to run reduced-price farmers' markets, bringing food that they've grown to hunger relief organizations, and presenting community lunches. On completing SYP, youth who continue to work with us can participate in our Academic Year Program (AYP) and our Internship Program. (Although youth who work with us as interns are not required to first complete AYP, the vast majority follow this track.)
AYP participants spend Saturdays and weekend afternoons expanding on the knowledge of sustainable agriculture and food justice that they acquired in SYP. They also build public speaking and job readiness skills. Participants in the Internship Program put their knowledge into action by partnering with staff and community members to engage in hands-on projects that further the mission of The Food Project.
In recruiting for all of our youth programs, we follow a strategy designed to bring together a diverse group of youth and adults in order to cultivate mutual understanding across geographic, socioeconomic, and racial boundaries. Our youth are not simply enrolled in an enrichment program; they work hard, learn important lessons, and have fun together. All youth are paid for their work; earning a paycheck instills in them a sense of responsibility while providing an economic support and incentive.
Through TFP's Youth Programs, teenagers are given opportunities for deep and sustained learning. As they move through the programs, youth are both given more responsibility and presented with greater challenges. As they grow, they take on leadership roles that prepare them to become the next generation of leaders in social activism or any other field they choose to pursue.
Summer Youth Program (SYP)
Youth ages 14 to 17 cultivate our urban and suburban farmland during this six-and-a-half week summer program.
Academic Year Program (AYP)
Graduates of our Summer Youth Program continue to build their knowledge and skills during the academic year.
SYP and AYP alumni use their knowledge and skills to engage in hands-on projects in their communities.
Alumni News and Consulting
Alumni of TFP's youth programs are encouraged to stay connected to us. This page explains how they can stay involved.