The Summer 2024 YCAP Crew with their first big harvest of Bok Choi!  

Summer is here in full force with an intense heat wave and the first few tomatoes starting to turn red. At the Food Literacy Project’s youth-driven farm, our summer goodies are starting to pop as we continue planting to ensure a bountiful fall harvest. Okra, eggplants, green beans, tomatoes, peppers, basil, cucumbers watermelon and more exciting veggies are on the way while we harvest our final rounds of spring lettuce, kale, peas, Bok Choi, and get ready for a big potato and onion harvest.  

At the end of May, our spring Youth Community Agriculture Program crew wrapped up their session with a celebratory community meal. They invited friends, family members, and folks they’ve connected with in their food systems work to enjoy a meal that they prepared using ingredients from their harvests. Crew members shared about the ways that learning to grow food has helped them harness their individual and collective power to push for changes in their communities. They talked about their favorite (and least favorite) farm tasks, and their most impactful takeaways. It was a truly beautiful (and tasty!) celebration! 

In mid-June, we welcomed a crew of mostly new youth onboard for the summer season alongside two crew members who have participated for over a year! This group of 12 youth has been getting acclimated to the farm – not only building a tolerance for being outdoors in the heat and getting familiar with Kentucky’s summer bugs, but learning how to select the right tool for the task, training their eyes to find patterns in the field to know what is a weed and what we planted on purpose, and to work collaboratively with new peers as they begin to build bonds. It is always inspiring to work alongside young people discovering their power and their capabilities at the farm! 

Home gardeners are really getting into the swing of things now, too. We had two small but lovely gatherings focused on garden maintenance in May and June so that all of our home gardeners could ask specific questions and discuss the maintenance strategies they’ve tried or learned about. I really love these gatherings! I learn so much from each of the gardeners and also get the opportunity to talk about strategies for growing food, which is one of my favorite things! At our meetings in May and June we talked about using different tools for different tasks, pest management, trellising and pruning tomatoes, how raised beds need more water, the signs that you need to fertilize your garden, and what have been the biggest successes and challenges so far for each of the home gardeners. These classes have been a really special opportunity for us as an organization to connect more deeply and in an ongoing manner with alumni of the Youth Community Agriculture Program, and community members that we’ve connected to through program partners or who are neighbors to the farms where we’ve worked. In July, we’ll have an informal gathering to keep momentum going and make sure that gardeners have access to the resources they need throughout the summer, but our next formal class will be in August. We’re excited to learn about food preservation and bring a long-time dream of “YCAP Salsa” to life!  


Home Gardener Danika’s first big harvest! 

Jennifer Lewis’s raised bed update! 

Photos from the Spring 2024 YCAP Community Meal at the end of May!