Sept 15, 2023
Youth Farmers Market
From farm to table in 24 hours was the unofficial theme of this year’s Youth Farmers Market. One of the largest groups of participants in the history of the program traveled to the Annapolis Valley one day and were fully set up to sell produce to customers the next. The produce couldn’t have been any fresher, nor could the customer service have been any better. It was a great experience for everyone.
This employability and life-skill building program is supported by the Youth Development Initiative (YDI) and affords a group of HomeBridge youth the opportunity to test their skills as entrepreneurs. The program is guided by our Recreation Therapist and starts with an overview of the program to let the young people know what they can expect. Once they are prepared and fully committed to the program, the real work begins.
Eleven youth in total took part in this year’s program. They traveled to several u-picks and different farms in the valley to gather everything from carrots, beets and corn to pears and several kinds of apples. They decided what they thought would be popular to customers and how much to invest in. This is all part of the experience as they learned about customer service, marketing and the difference between sales and profit.
Once they returned from the valley, they then had to sort everything and prepare for the public market the next day. It was a fast turnaround for the market, but a few of the participants even took things a step further by baking homemade goodies to sell at the market and gathering supplies to also have a BBQ as part of the event. Despite a few brief rain showers, they had a steady stream of customers throughout the day and did great with their sales. There was some surplus produce remaining the next day and they decided to give back to the community by donating that to Souls Harbour Rescue Mission.
This opportunity allowed the young people to gain experience they can list on their resumes and also provided them with valuable feedback on their performance. The Recreation Therapist prepared a “report card” of sorts for each of the young people and reviewed it with them after the program. Accolades were also awarded for demonstrating leadership and professionalism.
Thank you to the Youth Development Initiative for funding this program and to everyone who supported it by shopping at the market. We’re already looking forward to next year.