In three years, the Marion Polk Food Share Youth Farm has grown 23,000 pounds of food as well as helped 30 youth grow into future leaders. Now, a partnership with Chemeketa Community College means that the farm itself will grow. The Youth Farm will more than double in size by moving to a new site on the Chemeketa Salem campus. The new partnership between Chemeketa and the Food Share will give the Youth Farm an even greater impact in the community.
The new Youth Farm site will be housed on the Chemeketa Salem campus and will have up to six acres of irrigated land that will be planted with vegetable beds and orchards for food production. There will be a greenhouse and an outdoor classroom for gardening classes and workshops.
“Having the Youth Farm at Chemeketa is more than just a bigger farm; we have the opportunity to create a garden education site for the entire community,” said Ian Dixon-McDonald, Vice President of Programs at the Food Share. “The Youth Farm will serve more youth, raise more food, and engage more community volunteers and mentors.”
The new farm will integrate into Chemeketa’s agricultural sciences curriculum and give students an opportunity to see a working farm in action.
“This partnership with Food Share is exactly the kind of collaboration we seek to integrate educational opportunity with community needs,” said Julie Huckestein, President of Chemeketa.
Construction on the new farm will take place over the winter. Full production is anticipated by spring, when a new class of Youth Farmers will begin work. Half of the produce from the Youth Farm will be distributed through the Food Share network to families in need in our community. The rest of the produce will be for sale to the public in summer 2016 in CSA shares and at the Salem Saturday Market.
The 2015 Youth Farmers