Cultivating Youth Leaders on the Farm

By Elizabeth Packer Last Saturday marked the conclusion of Common Good City Farm’s first Fall Internship Program. The inaugural program was a great success. Through the internship, youth participants furthered their knowledge about sustainable food and developed their leadership skills. Interns worked about 7 hours per week at the farm, and they were paid hourly for their efforts. Each of the 5 youth who took part in this fall internship were returning participants of the Summer Youth Program. Over the course of the six-week program, the interns worked on a variety of projects on the farm. They worked with a local carpenter to construct a much-needed storage shed for the farm. In addition, the interns led a workshop for another youth group about how to plan for a fall garden, and they played an important role in leading volunteer groups that visit the farm most Saturdays. The interns also had the opportunity to visit several community sites in the area. They attended a workshop about the importance of native plants, and helped volunteers plant a native pollinator garden at the Capital Area Food Bank’s new site in Northeast DC. The teenagers also visited DC Central Kitchen, where, after a discussion about hunger and homelessness in the DC area, the interns prepared meals to be delivered to those in need. Our interns evolved into leaders for the farm, and through their leadership roles, gained experience in public speaking and communications. Hauwa Santuraki, age 15, summed up her internship experience: “It exceeded my expectations. I liked leading volunteers and visiting different locations… I definitely improved as a leader.” Common Good City Farm looks forward to offering another internship in the spring. The photo above is of staff and some of our interns at the White House Garden.