Denver Urban Gardens, in partnership with Slow Food Denver, works with local schools to coordinate the Denver youth farm stands for the young. The youth farm stands offer healthy food to communities, promote nutrition, demonstrate healthy meal preparation in partnership with local chefs and develop community capacity and leadership. A youth farm stand program is a single-vendor farm stand on or near school property that is run by the youth of that school. It is appropriately titled a “Youth Farm Stand” because often, many of the youth selling the produce have grown the produce in the school garden. Beyond this basic definition, each YFS program will be unique based on the needs and resources of the community and youth.
Through the youth farm stand 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 farm stand. A youth farm stand 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 Farm Stand Toolkit
This resource was created by the Denver Youth Farm Stand Coalition, which is a partnership between Denver Urban Gardens, Slow Food Denver and various Denver Public Elementary Schools. The Denver YFS Coalition was created in 2008 to provide a practical and effective way to offer Youth Farm Stands to all of our school garden programs. The following toolkit was created as a resource for teachers, community members, parents and others who are interested in starting or improving YFS 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 Farm Stand Toolkit. If you would like to purchase a physical version of the Toolkit, please click 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 Livewell Colorado to offer Double Up Food Bucks, which doubles the value of SNAP benefits spent for locally grown foods. For every dollar of federal benefits that a shopper spends at the farm stand, DUFB provides a matching dollar to spend on local fruits and vegetables. The implementation of DUFB 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. DUFB generates economic stimulus in communities by keeping federal nutrition benefit funds within local and regional communities. Learn more about signing up for SNAP here!
Check out our Little Sprouts Youth Farm Stand in the video below!
We’d like to thank the Community First Foundation and Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation their generous support of the Youth Farm Stand program.