Michigan Youth Farm Stands Project Tool KitDOWNLOAD FILE
January 5, 2009 - Author: Anne Scott
This tool kit is designed to guide a team of youth and adults through planning and putting into action a local food project: a youth-run farm stand. The tool kit was developed over three years (2005-2008) by the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems (now CRFS) at Michigan State University with the participation of 16 different Michigan communities. The Michigan Youth Farm Stands Tool Kit offers 32 learning activities that cover the food system, growing food, business planning and marketing.
How to Use this Tool Kit
This tool kit is designed to guide a group from start to finish through learning about, planning and putting into action a local food project— a youth farm stand. It is based on three years of experience and lessons, as well as feedback from 16 different Michigan communities that participated in the Youth Farm Stand Project between 2005 and 2008, and the CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at MSU.
Adaptation is the key
This tool kit was intended to provide a resource for every part of developing a youth farm stand, however, not every lesson must be followed in exact order to learn the concepts. You can pick and choose activities that fit your needs, or adapt lessons and activities to best utilize the people and resources you have, or to surmount the obstacles you may face. Every community has different assets and obstacles—no two youth farm stands will ever be the same!
You may notice that this guide is addressed to a whole group, instead of just to one adult leader. The idea is that youth as well as adults can read and use this guide, and can be leaders in the process of planning the farm stand. Youth need to be empowered, engaged, and responsible in every step of the project!
What’s with the BIG paper?
Because activities are designed to be used in a group setting, notice that almost every activity calls for BIG paper (a.k.a. flip charts, butcher paper, newsprint) and markers. You will be writing down ideas in big visual ways A LOT. This is a important technique for guiding group discussions and brainstorming. This helps the “group-think” process by:
- Visually listing ideas to affirm that a person’s idea is being recognized,
- Preventing “talking in circles” - writing down ideas helping avoid revisiting the same idea or issue over and over, and
- Creating a great record of the group’s progress.