The Food Project's nationally recognized approaches to youth development 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 Seed Crew (formerly known as Summer Youth Program). For seven weeks, youth work on our farms and serve their communities by distributing produce at reduced-price farmers' markets and hunger relief organizations. On completing Seed Crew, youth who continue to work with us do so through the Dirt Crew (formerly known as Academic Year Program) and Root Crew (formerly known as Internship Program).
Dirt Crew participants spend Saturdays and weekend afternoons expanding on the knowledge of sustainable agriculture and food justice that they acquired in Seed Crew. They also build public speaking and job readiness skills. Participants in the Root Crew 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 these approaches to youth development, teenagers have opportunities for deep and sustained learning. As they move through the Seed, Dirt and Root Crews, 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 the food movement or any other field they choose to pursue.
Seed Crew (formerly Summer Youth Program)
Seed Crew, formerly known as Summer Youth Program or SYP, is a seven week summer opportunity for youth to grow produce on urban and suburban farms while developing civic engagement and teamwork skills in a diverse setting.
Dirt Crew (formerly Academic Year Program)
Dirt Crew, formerly known as DIRT, DIRT Crew, or Academic Year Program, takes place during the school year with youth who have completed Seed Crew and provides meaningful opportunities to develop leadership in sustainable agriculture practices, local food systems, diversity/anti-oppression work, and civic engagement.
Root Crew (formerly Internship Program)
Root Crew, formerly known as Interns or the Internship Program, is a yearlong, capstone experience for youth, in which youth take on increasingly responsible roles in our urban and suburban farms and markets, and have opportunities to lead community dialogue around food system change and social justice.
Alumni News and Consulting
Alumni are encouraged to stay connected to us. This page explains how they can stay involved.