Ferguson's Farm School Youth Jobs

$72,053 of $80,000 goal

Raised by 137 people in 41 months

urban farm.
jobs for teenagers.
healthy food.
community gathering place.
youth empowerment.
teaching healthy habits.
young gardeners.
real skills training.

This is already happening on a 14 acre historic farm nestled in a neighborhood of Ferguson, Missouri, just a mile from S. Florissant Rd, where demonstrators have been gathering outside the Ferguson Police Station since August 8th.

We at EarthDance have seen the power of bringing young people to our Organic Farm School in Ferguson, a peaceful outdoor setting, not only for learning about healthier choices, but also for gaining real skills for growing food and respecting the environment.
These young people are the future of Ferguson.

In 2014, EarthDance launched THREE new youth programs to better serve the young people in our community and introduce them to fresh ways of thinking and living:

1. Work Experience Program - in partnership with the Ferguson Florissant School District, we serve as a job site for students in the Special School District, ages 15- 19. Monday through Friday in the spring and fall, EarthDance trains young people each morning in a variety of farm and culinary skills - from harvesting sweet potatoes to making a farm-fresh meal.

2. Junior Farm Crew - in May we hired 8 Ferguson teens for part-time jobs on the farm this summer.  20+ hours each week, these young people became an integral part of farm.  
The Junior Farm Crew:
prepped beds for planting,
served samples at the Taste in Ferguson event,
weeded the fruit tree nursery,
practiced public speaking skills by giving culinary campers a farm tour
tasted and learned how to cook new vegetables 
sowed seeds and tranplanted seedlings
developed confidence in themselves and their community. 

3. Catch Healthy Habits - in partnership with Coach Al Harrold's Strength & Honor Summer Camp and OASIS - St. Louis,  elementary-age boys from Ferguson came to the farm each Tuesday this summer to learn healthy habits from active seniors.  All enjoyed eating healthy snacks, playing physically challenging games, and discussing healthy habits. 

Through our youth programming, EarthDance is empowering young people with job skills and confidence while offering a way to get involved in positive community change. Youth developed an increased awareness of the importance of sustainable farming and appreciation of nature, while trying new fresh foods and  developing healthy habits. Further, we believe that they will go on to educate their peers and inspire  changes among friends and family through their own examples.  

In 2015, EarthDance would like to expand our youth programming to serve even more young people in our community.

To do this, we need your help.

We would like to expand the educational offerings to the young people who visit the farm and who comprise our Junior Farm Crew. In addition to training youth in organic farming and gardening, public speaking, and healthy cooking, we are eager to offer practice in leadership skills, nonviolent communication, peer listening, and social justice. 
We would also like to increase the number of youth we're able to serve. This year, due to high demand, we hired twice as many teens to work on the farm as we'd planned. We'd like to hire even more in 2015.

You can contribute to youth empowerment in Ferguson by making a donation here. 

Find out more about EarthDance and the work we've been doing in Ferguson since 2008 here: 

See our latest video, Rooted in Ferguson, here:

*EarthDance is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. All donations are tax-deductible. 

Farms, Food & Jobs for Ferguson: EarthDance

+ Read More
Thanks so much to Just BARE® for a donation of $3,589.94 to EarthDance's Junior Farm Crew Program! Just BARE®, a brand of natural, antibiotic-free and organic chicken, awarded $18,546.89 in donations to eight community gardens around the country. These donations come as part of Just BARE Goodness for Gardens, a donation program that recognized outstanding community garden programs focused on youth development.

Earlier this month, members of EarthDance's the fall session of Junior Farm Crew received the "big check" from Just BARE. The funds will enable EarthDance to continue providing meaningful work to teens and young adults in Ferguson.

The Junior Farm Crew experience is much more than a job—JFC members spent the fall caring for crops and tending chickens, AND cultivating an inner harvest. Enrichment to the jobs program includes training in personal resilience strategies like yoga and self-care through healthy eating. JFC members practice professional and compassionate communication during "straight talk" sessions. Team-building and team-work are critical to the program. Cameron Jackson, a member of the summer and fall JFC in 2015 explains, "farming at EarthDance is the hardest, funnest job."

Thank you all for your support of EarthDance's YEAH! (Youth Exploring Agriculture & Health) Program. Please share this update with friends if you believe in the power of an outstanding first job to shape the course of a young person's life.
+ Read More
Last week marked the launch of our second season of Junior Farm Crew! Founding Director Molly Rockamann lead a discussion that exemplifies the kind of confident, passion leaders you are growing through supporting this campaign: What makes a Food Leader?

"You are leaders of the Good Food Movement because you are members of the Junior Farm Crew," she declared. Rockamann continued with a challenge: "How do you WANT to be a food leader?"

A few shy moments of silence, until the domino-effect of the first response crashed, followed by an excited slew of answers:

Be a gardener; Run my own restaurant that uses farm & garden produce; Bring farm food to more food pantries; Nutrition coaching; Cook with more farm veggies.

Molly offered paths that many people, at any age, might not connect with food at all:

"You can be writers, musicians, dancers. Because food is everywhere."

The group closed out the session with a game led by JFC Leaders Tiffany & Brandon, Rock, Stick, Leaf. They were asked to come up with 1. What Rocked Today 2. What Stuck with Them & 3. What They Will Leave Behind.

"Step up or step back," a group member offered. We wanted to show you how invaluable your contributions have been in developing leadership in local youth. Thank you for your support.
Junior Farm Crew: Building Food Leaders
+ Read More
After a muddy start, the sun came up big & bright today for the launch of our second Junior Farm Crew! We are thrilled to welcome back 2 EarthDance alumni as program leaders for the summer, 2014 Apprentice Tiffny Brewer & JFC member Brandon Davis. Together, the new crew came up with these pledges. The commitments are a testament to how amazing these young people from North County are & the kind of experience your support is giving them. We can't wait to get to work!
+ Read More
In our latest e-newsletter, Founding Director Molly Rockamann reflected on a recent trip to Washington's GRuB Institute. EarthDance shares the Institute's goal, creating "transformative youth programs." The weekend inspired practices we aim to integrate into our approach to future YEAH programming. We hope sharing these particular aspects of our plan for 2015 youth programs will help you understand how powerful an education the Junior Farm Crew & Work Experience Program members will receive because of your support.

One example of GRuB's model we are eager to incorporate includes The 4 R's: Responsibility, Relationships, Relevance, & Rigor. Successful youth development programs hinge on the marriage of the R's. What does it take to execute this marriage? An understanding of not just the youth but also ourselves as "sponges."

"Being a sponge" is how Molly described the mindset with which she would be framing her experience at GRuB. Consider the implicit humility in this comparison, when your purpose is to receive (absorb) more than to give, which we might translate as a focus on not just hearing but listening.

Sponge-type educators embrace a mutual exchange of learning between themselves & the youth. They strive to create an atmosphere of openness both for AND with young participants. With this view in mind, we aim to prepare young people for the next step, facilitating the conversations we have in their own community. Serving as leaders who create positive, meaningful change on any scale will evolve from a role adults have encouraged them to fill to a future they can envision for themselves. We are honored to be able to provide such opportunities for Ferguson youth & will always be mindful of the opportunities' roots: your generosity.
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update
Be the first to leave a comment on this campaign.

$72,053 of $80,000 goal

Raised by 137 people in 41 months
Created November 27, 2014
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
Tansey Louis
15 months ago

Keep up the good work.

Tori Fick
22 months ago

This is for LaTia Thomas!

Victoria Fick
23 months ago (Monthly Donation)
Allan and Joan Benjamin
24 months ago

Fantastic work. Thanks for all you are doing.

Victoria Fick
24 months ago (Monthly Donation)
Be the first to leave a comment on this campaign.
Or, use your email…
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.