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Organizing Youth Farmer’s Markets

Originally appears in the Fall 2014 issue 

MOVE OVER BAKE SALE! School gardens, those beloved second classrooms where hands-on learning reigns supreme, are cropping up across North America. A school garden, in itself, provides countless opportunities for year-round experiential learning. During warm weather months, students learn valuable lessons in horticulture and seasonality while spending much-needed time outdoors; in the winter, students and teachers can plan the next season’s garden together, tacking on additional skills to an engaging curriculum.

If you’re ready to grow your garden even further, take some cues from Slow Food Denver and DC Greens – these two organizations have successfully implemented full-scale, youth-run farmer’s markets into Denver and DC public schools, offering students lessons in an array of subjects ranging from business, marketing and sales to simple and complex mathematics. Once students have begun growing their own produce, allowing them to sell that food to parents, teachers, and community members gives participating students a sense of pride and ownership in their harvest. From sharpening math skills to getting kids outdoors and bolstering school fundraising efforts, there are countless reasons to consider starting up your own youth farmer’s market. Here’s what you need to know to get your market started.

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Jamie Siebrase is a Denver-based freelance writer who writes about parenting, education, and arts and culture for a number of newspapers, consumer magazines and blogs.