Future Generations University is
launching Sprout School
January 23rd, 2024!

By Margaret Donnan and Jenny Totten
Sprout School is a nine-month training program designed to support individuals interested in implementing youth agriculture, local product sourcing for schools, or similar activities. This program, funded by Northeast SARE Professional Development monies, grew out of previous work done within WV based on Farm to School activities, a framework developed by the USDA that focuses on connecting schools to healthy, local foods and agriculture-based education opportunities.
By attending bi-weekly virtual Zoom sessions throughout the nine-month program, Sprout School participants will have the opportunity to dive deeply into these focus areas and explore topics such as choosing curriculum to use with students, sourcing local foods in schools, connecting youth to careers in agriculture, entrepreneurial opportunities, policy changes, and more. When participants complete the training, the goal is that they feel equipped with a concrete plan to implement agricultural or environmental education programming and feel empowered to get students excited about their region’s agricultural potential and related career opportunities.

In addition to the bi-weekly sessions, Sprout School also includes “Learning Labs,” where participants are able to choose a project to do with their students like taste testing recipes, container gardening, or making signage for their cafeteria to highlight local foods. Participants are also connected with subject matter experts to provide individual coaching. Throughout both the bi-weekly sessions and the Learning Labs, participants will see examples of successful projects and hear reflections from some of the people who helped make them possible. Participants will also receive $375 to spend on materials for their projects as well as a $200 stipend for participation.

Sprout School participants will also be invited to engage with one another at in-person quarterly networking events with each other and peers who are engaging in youth agriculture across the state. At these events, attendees will have a formal in person training opportunity, networking time, and the ability to see best practices of youth agriculture in action. The first of these will be held April 20th at the Future Generations campus in Franklin, WV.

Interested in participating in Sprout School? Contact Jenny Totten (jenny.totten@future.edu) or Margaret Donnan (margaret.donnan@future.edu) for more information.

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