The Food Literacy Project (FLP) was founded in 2006 out of a community desire for young people to reconnect with soil, air, water, sun, and the people who work to feed us.  Leveraging food and sustainable agriculture, youth leadership, cross-sector partnerships, and neighborhood assets, FLP works toward a vision for a healthy and equitable community where people and places thrive.

Young people advance food security, health, equity, and prosperity through a community food system. Our programs create youth employment, education, leadership, and career development opportunities; provide fresh local produce to Louisville neighbors in need; engage youth in seeking systemic solutions; and cultivate a generation of young people empowered to contribute meaningfully to shaping a healthier future.

The Youth Community Agriculture Program (YCAP) is both an employment and development opportunity aimed at youth ages 15-21. This program enables youth Community Food Leaders to grow food, break bread, build community, and activate change together, directly impacting their experience of place and relationships within the food system.

While learning the ins and outs of growing, harvesting, and distributing food, Community Food Leaders also work on a Youth Participatory Action Research Project – focusing on an issue within the local food system of their choice. The winter YCAP crew pursued and researched the question, “How can we support and encourage community members to grow their own food?” The feedback they collected from their community and their own experiences brought forth the importance of accessible, inclusive resources and hands-on learning experiences around growing food. They’ve decided to keep a focus on this research during the spring season, developing a youth-centered social media platform for sharing their knowledge and resources and helping support the Garden Grant program and classes!

We also engage 3rd-5th graders in our after-school gardening and cooking program, Field-to-Fork Club. Students design, plant, and care for their school gardens and cook vegetable-centered recipes with farm-fresh ingredients.

We have found students are excited and curious to try new vegetables when they have had the chance to grow them. We lead this programming at other sites, partnering with JCPS schools and other community organizations including Jacob Elementary, Hazelwood Elementary, Kenwood Elementary, Backside Learning Center, Change Today Change Tomorrow, and Play Cousins Collective. At all sites, we’ve seen how excited families are to begin growing their own food.


We leaned on our network of community members, YCAP program alumni, and Field-to-Fork partnerships to secure 17 garden participants in total! Many of our participants are current or past Community Food Leaders from our Youth Community Agriculture Program. Others are families from our JCPS and community organization partners. Their participation in this program is an incredible opportunity for them to continue their learning and extend their YCAP experience beyond The Food Literacy Project’s growing site and into their own spaces.


On Saturday, March 23rd, we hosted our first Garden Grant class, “Garden Planning.” After beginning with a check-in question, we discussed what a seed needs – water, sun, soil, and space – to provide a framework for thinking about planning garden spaces. We discussed watering methods, getting creative with the amount of light you have in your garden space, healthy soil, spacing plants far enough apart. Then, we moved into designing and drawing garden plans with graph paper, pencil, planting calendars, and seed catalogs. Being a family event, younger students were invited to participate in a garden planning activity designed to be used in our Field-to-Fork programs.

Throughout the event, gardeners connected with one another about their wins and fails in the garden, asking one another and our team leaders for advice. At the end of the day, participants were invited to hang around to ask particulars about their garden space. Everyone was sent home with a gardening resource packet for Louisville – including information about where to rent garden tools, compost services, and local gardens and nurseries.