Despite the challenges of farming during the coronavirus pandemic, 19 youth farmers have harvested more than 17,000 pounds of fresh produce this summer at the Youth Farm on the Chemeketa Community College campus in Northeast Salem.

Four days a week since June 22, youth engaged in the summer internship program have grown food for the Farm Share Rx program. Since early July, they have prepared boxed shares of fresh produce for delivery to patients visiting three local health clinics — Grand Ronde Health & Wellness Clinic, Lancaster Family Health Center in NE Salem, and Northwest Human Services in West Salem. The program is designed to benefit patients managing diet-related disease and those at risk of food insecurity. Participants receive produce, recipes, cooking and storage tips, in addition to a food resource guide to aid them year-round.

On average, 270 individuals per week benefited from the work performed by youth farmers. When the program ends in mid-October, about 1,400 patients and their family members will have been served.

Support for the 2020 Youth Farm and Farm Share Rx programs came from Midland Area Community Foundation, AT&T, Big Lots, First Tech Federal Credit Union, Trust Management Services/Braemar Charitable Trust, Juan Young Trust, Oregon Department of Education, Willamette MBA Community Grant Program, Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund, Northwest Farm Credit Services and The Tomberg Family Philanthropies.

Thank you for making this community health advancement work possible!