The TFFJ Farm and Outreach After-School Program

Basic Program Structure

  • 10 – 20 middle school or high school students
  • Approximate duration: October – June
  • Meeting frequency: Two 2-hour sessions weekly + 1 Saturday per month (to lead community outreach events and participate in service field trips)
  • Students participate in the ongoing maintenance of the farm during each session, followed by hands-on learning and advocacy projects

Build and Prep

Grow and Learn

Harvest and Lead

Student Takeaways

  • Leadership skills (teaching what is learned)
  • Improved self-confidence & communication skills
  • Hands-on advocacy training
  • Expertise in cutting-edge urban farming technology and sustainable food systems
  • Entrepreneurship/business skills
  • Improved knowledge of nutrition and healthy living strategies for positive long-term diet and health outcomes

Module 1: Introduction to the Science and Mechanics of Hydroponics

  • Hydroponics and urban food systems 101
  • Mechanics: modeling and building hydroponic systems
  • Exploring sustainability and efficiency in hydroponic farming
  • Chemistry and data tracking in an indoor farm

Module 2: Introduction to Nutrition

  • The Science of Food Choice
  • Eating What We Grow: exploring the nutrient content and health benefits of crops growing in the farm
  • Family Heritage Cookbook Project: explore how to bring recommended daily servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains into meals you already love

Module 3: Food Equity and Food Access

  • Mapping the Local Food Scape, past and present
  • Exploring paths of food products from farm to table
  • Event planning and market design: how to distribute crops and introduce the community to information about nutrition and food access
  • Saturday Outreach Event: Introducing the community the farm, its harvest, and nutrition information

Module 4: Navigating Food Deserts

  • Shopping Matters Training: strategies for healthy shopping on a tight budget
  • Gaining an in-depth understanding of the local neighborhood’s food resources and federal nutrition programs
  • Cooking for Health: learning from a community chef how to use produce from the farm in simple, nutritious meals and snacks for the whole family
  • Saturday Harvest and Community Outreach Event: Mock Supermarket, healthy shopping training, and healthy recipes

Module 5: Dynamic Equilibrium and Physical Fitness

  • Food, Fitness and Family: students track their own eating and exercise habits while learning about how the balance of diet and exercise impacts health
  • Professionally-led fitness workshops
  • Saturday Community Outreach: Health & Wellness Festival with family-focused fitness activities, free health screenings and produce distribution

Module 6: Advocacy and the Broader Community

  • Turning Knowledge Into Action: advocacy and communication training
  • Year-End Advocacy Project: students carry out a project of their choice to spread awareness and spark action for improved health and food equity locally

Program Benefits to the School Community

  • Access to a source of fresh, locally grown produce year round
  • Nutrition and health education (led by youth)
  • Healthy shopping, cooking and recipe preparation training
  • Family fitness programming
  • Sustainability training
  • Home-grown food justice advocacy movement
  • A transformation of school food experience

Empowering Teens Feeding Communities Building a Healthy Sustainable Future