Bright Spot Farms is a paid Horticultural training program for low-income high school youth ages 14-19. Participants learn to grow fresh vegetables while earning an income. The vegetables are in turn provided to low-income families to help supplement their nutritional needs.
The program operates three cohorts per year (spring, summer and fall) and provides participants with hands-on training in all aspects of small-scale farming, including seeding, cultivating, harvesting, and marketing fresh vegetables. Produce grown by the students is used to provide a weekly supply of herbs and vegetables for 65 low-income families (approx. 200 individuals).
Bright Spot Farms focuses on providing career-path training that includes both industry-specific and transferable soft skills. Hands-on training is complemented by weekly food justice and soft skills workshops. Through the former, youth learn about the biological fundamentals of farming and strategies for addressing food insecurity, as well as skills for preparing healthy meals using fresh vegetables. The latter focus on resume building, financial literacy and budgeting, communication, conflict resolution, and teamwork. Participants also have the opportunity to: 1) earn a certificate in either ServSafe (safe food handling practices) or Forklift Operation, and; 2) attend 2 to 3 field trips during the program that expose them to various scales of production, innovative production methods, and other career-related topics. During training, youth are divided into smaller crews to build skills in teamwork and accountability. These crews learn and practice structured and reciprocal feedback regularly, a practice that helps to build communication and conflict resolution skills.
Bright Spot Farms also provides two leadership pathways for older students returning to the program. Each session, some students are selected to return for the subsequent session as either a Crew Leader or Community Ambassador. Crew Leaders are responsible for creating a weekly work plan and leading their team through field tasks. Community Ambassadors help plan and execute weekly cooking demos and lead workshops on cooking and nutrition for youth at partnering community organizations. Students in the leadership program participate in weekly leadership trainings.
Skills youth learn in the program include:
- How to create a resume
- Employment-related certifications (ServSafe or Forklift Operator, depending upon age)
- Strategies for communication and conflict resolution
- Customer service and retail skills
- Identification and uses of common plants and vegetables
- Food preparation skills for cooking fresh vegetables
Geographic Areas Served: the program serves low-income youth in and around the City of Wilmington and New Castle County.
Click here for an update on the program.
For more information, contact:
(302) 658-4171 x189