The Youth Urban Agriculture Internship was established as a three-phase internship program with varying activities in each phase. Phase one was a 16 week internship that featured basic job training, activities on nutrition, food production, healthy cooking, and visioning and planning for the Bite Café at the REACH Ashland Youth Center. Participants would develop their action research project through engaging in hands on experiences to better understand the complexities of our food system and build opportunities to implement change in their community. At the end of the 16 weeks youth participants would be exposed to the environmental, social, medical and political implications of the food they eat, have an understanding of the college and career pathways they need to pursue careers in these fields, and have a plan of action for the Bite Café.
The Coronavirus pandemic forced the Youth Urban Agriculture Internship to pause after several weeks of engaging youth. In order to continue youth engagement despite the ‘Shelter in Place’ order, we shifted the internship outdoors to Dig Deep Farms (DDF) in Ashland. At DDF, youth learned about permaculture and regenerative growth practices. This funding from Sutter Health supported farm tools, personal protective equipment (PPE), snacks, water and gift cards for participating youth and one school-based support staff. Each intern will received stipends for the total amount of hours their participated in the program at a rate of $20-25/hour. This internship did not only provide youth with work experience but provided economic resources (stipends, transportation support) to support the youth and their families during high rates of unemployment due to the shelter in place order
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