Youth Farmers Markets

Denver Urban Gardens, in partnership with Slow Food Denver, works with local schools to coordinate the Denver youth farmers markets for the young. The youth farmers markets offer healthy food to communities, promote nutrition, demonstrate healthy meal preparation in partnership with local chefs and develop community capacity and leadership. A youth farmers’ market program is a single-vendor farmers’ market on or near school property that is run by the youth of that school. It is appropriately titled a “Youth Farmers Market” because often, many of the youth selling the produce have grown the produce in the school garden. Beyond this basic definition, each YFM program will be unique based on the needs and resources of the community and youth.

Through the youth farmers markets program, youth have the potential to learn how to grow their own food, increase their intake of fresh healthy produce, and germinate an interest in sharing what they are learning with the broader community through the venue of a small farmers’ market. A youth farmers market focuses on promoting healthy eating habits, reinforcing traditional academics, such as math and science, and building life skills such as customer service, conflict resolution and entrepreneurship. Additionally, they serve as mini–communities, modeling inclusive ways to teach the strength of diversity. A school may choose to meet all of these objectives or customize the menu to suit the needs of their constituents.

Denver Youth Farmers Markets Handbook

This resource was created by the Denver Youth Farmers Market Coalition, which is a partnership between Denver Urban Gardens, Slow Food Denver and various Denver Public Elementary Schools. The Denver YFM Coalition was created in 2008 to provide a practical and effective way to offer Youth Farmers Markets to all of our school garden programs. The following handbook was created as a resource for teachers, community members, parents and others who are interested in starting or improving YFM programs in their community. Through more than 30 youth-run markets, the Coalition has gained valuable insight that we are thrilled to be able to share with the greater community. Click here to view the Denver Youth Farmers Markets Handbook. Print copies are for purchase here.

SNAP Benefits and the Double Value Coupon Program

In an effort to make fresh, healthy produce available to as many Coloradans as possible, many youth farmers’ markets are able to accept SNAP benefits. Additionally, Denver Urban Gardens is fortunate to be able to partner with Wholesome Wave to offer the DoubleValue Coupon Program (DVCP), which doubles the value of SNAP benefits spent for locally grown foods at Wholesome Wave partner farm-to-retail venues. For every dollar of federal benefits that a shopper spends at the market, farm stand, DVCP provides a matching dollar to spend on local fruits and vegetables. The implementation of DVCP at farm-to-retail venues has the potential to increase consumption of healthy produce by participating community members and support the viability of small and midsize farms by creating new revenue streams. DVCP generates economic stimulus in communities by keeping federal nutrition benefit funds within local and regional communities. Wholesome Wave is a national nonprofit working to increase access to and affordability of fresh, local produce in underserved areas while supporting local farms.

  • Denver Youth Farmers Markets are done for the season, please check back in July for a schedule of our markets.
  • For more information about the Denver Youth Farmers’ Market Coalition, please contact Shawnee Adelson, Director of School Garden Programs, via email or via phone at 303.292.9900.

Click the link below to purchase a print copy of the Youth Farmers’ Market Handbook for $25 or download a PDF here.

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