MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Garden plots across the Twin Cities are growing a new generation of gardeners and a closer community.

It may not be the way a lot of kids would like to spend their summer, digging in the dirt for hours on end, but Hawwa Youngmark wouldn’t dream of doing anything else.

“Yeah, it’s really fun,” Youngmark said.

It’s her seventh year at the Youth Farm and Market Project. The program is in its 16th year and it has spread out at 11 garden plots in five neighborhoods across Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The program also sprouts a sense of community.

“I used to go to just sit at home and watch television,” said Oluwakemi Daniel. “I never felt safe, you know, but here I can just run around and stuff.”

The project is basically a summer camp that goes on all day. There are, however, plenty of activities outside of the garden. Colin Cureton is the program director for the Powderhorn program.

“We often talk about healthy youth, healthy families, healthy communities as the end goal, and food is really the tool to get there,” Cureton said.

Kids get to sell their goods at Farmers Markets. There are even cooking classes.

“I just hated collard greens at the beginning but there are so many ways you can cook it up and stuff. It’s really yummy,” Daniel said.

Growing food and new members of in the communities is what keeps Youngmark coming back to the project.

“Everyone was just really nice to me, and it was really, really fun,” she said. “I was doing things I never did before, so it just kind of became a summer thing.”

Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that youth that participate in Youth Farm make better eating choices, are more physically active and develop stronger relationships with their peers.

The program is open to kids ages 9 through 18. Click here for more information on the program.

Liz Collin

Comments (11)
  1. mike says:

    This indeed is one of the best ideas that has ever come around to our youths and communities as well. Not only will it enhance better nutrients for families, it will help make all people connect with others and lead better lives. Maybe one day a gadren like that will open up for business, my neck of the woods could use something like that.

  2. :) says:

    This was nice story thanks for sharing it WCCO.

  3. antiantimuslim says:

    @chimp – maybe your evolutionary process was not fully completed?

    @MAJ – i like your ‘amen’ – perhaps your prayerful soul has seen images of all historically pious women in your faith as having worn various and similar forms of body covering – even to this day, e.g. the nunnery?

    i was that girl’s sunday school teacher and i know her parents as well, i assume you don’t. perhaps you should not talk out of the side of your mouth slandering people you don’t know. maybe you think people are mindless if they choose to follow something different than you, but i assure you that is not the case.

    the spiritual aptitude of a young person is able to accept and reject belief with a lot of discernment. you ought to give young kids credit. and frankly, if she doesn’t want to wear it, i’m sure she’ll take it off one day.

    how about we set up an email alert so you’ll be able to accept her existence easier when that day comes? sound good? great.

    and for the record, chimp, i hate to burden *you* with the fact that it *is* the US one of the last places in the world where despite people like you, a person can believe and act as they want, as long as they obey the law.

    1. antistupid says:

      So, to be a REAL American you have to come from Norway, Germany or Ireland?

    2. Really!!! says:

      Are you serious? Get a life!! She’s a kid, and as her Aunt I can tell you she is as American as apple pie. On both sides the family in America goes back generations and none came from any Arab countries. How else can I clarify that some Americans “choose” a different religion and that is their right in this country. The problem in this world is people like you, muslims and non muslims who are intolerant.
      One encouraging thing is that at least the other children in this video seem to have more sense than you Antimuslim. Grow Up!!

  4. jonas says:

    It sounds to me like the one’s who could make this a better country by leaving are the “real Americans” Antimuslim and Chimp. Adios, farewell, “amen”.

    1. @jewnas says:

      Ah another reeking immigrant pipes in Jonas, you’re as welcome here as the towelheads, beat it.

  5. idonthateanyone says:

    This is an awesome story, and it’s great to see community gardens pop up around the city.


    Now if only we had greenhouses so this could continue on though winter…

  6. Mr. Youngmark says:

    You guys are funny. Going all back and forth like that. Makes me chuckle. By the way, her grandmother just happens to be Norwegian. Figure it out, man. You’re displaying a lot of ignorance about ethnicity, religion, American freedoms and, it seems, community gardening. It is a story about children gardening, which I believe is a wonderful thing.