On a 1.25-acre farm nestled within Greenbelt Forest Preserve in North Chicago, the Green Youth Farm in Lake County is providing high school students with a paid work experience, entrepreneurial and job skills training, guidance by adult mentors, and exposure to healthy foods and cooking, while providing the local food desert community with organically grown produce for free or at a reduced-cost.
The Preservation Foundation partners with the Lake County Forest Preserves and the Chicago Botanic Garden to make this exemplary program possible.
Each summer, 20 students are hired to plan, sow, tend and harvest a 1.25-acre sustainable farm. Participants learn to enjoy and prepare new foods, market their produce at area farmers markets, and provide affordable produce to Lake County’s food-insecure residents through weekly farm stands and demonstrations at local Women and Infant Children (WIC) centers.
Since the program began in 2003, the Green Youth Farm in Lake County has:
Employed and mentored nearly 600 students from diverse backgrounds.
Sold or donated more than 87,000 pounds of produce.
Conducted food preparation demonstrations at WIC centers, providing 5,098 produce servings to parents and children in 2015 alone.
The Green Youth Farm in Lake County—made possible thanks to donors from across the region—has grown into the model for youth development programs throughout Chicago. Join us as we further the Forest Preserves’ mission to provide interactive education for generations to come.