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9525 DONA ROWENA AVE NE, Albuquerque, NM 87111
Grant Received County Amount
Outdoor Equity Fund 2023 Bernalillo County $30,000
Total Grants Awarded $30,000

The Youth Agricultural Cooperative (YAC) is an innovative youth-led program in Albuquerque, New Mexico that engages young people aged 11-17 through service based experiences, entrepreneurship and hands-on project based learning, all grounded in agriculture. We run an 8 week summer internship with 20-30 middle and high school youth and an all year Saturday leadership program with 8 interns this year. Power equity for all members is the foundation on which the program is built. Following years of operating our program in an APS school garden, we found, in the fall of 2022, that we no longer had consistent access to that garden. We needed to find new ground in which to grow and to reshape the program. After discussion with community partners, donors and YAC youth leaders, we left APS and became an independent not for profit entity with the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) as our fiscal sponsor. Having made a commitment to the year round interns leaders and finding ourselves without a garden we began to explore the rest of the city through service learning experiences with community organizations and our long time partners. Then Project Feed The Hood offered us space to plant at the International District Community Garden. Which is where we have a garden now. In the spring of 2023 we hosted a bilingual meeting with the participants and families from the 2022 summer internship program. The youth leaders reported on the year’s activities and we invited all the families to join us in the summer of 2023 at the new location. In the summer of 2023 we had 22 youth interns participate in the 8 week program. The components of our program are: Eating and sharing the food we grow. Responding to the needs of our community partners through service based experiences. Visiting locations and organizations that address the interest of our youth. And creating a collaborative community of strong young leaders. Our biggest accomplishments are: That the youth continue to want to participate in the program. We joke that we can not get rid of them. That we successfully became an independent entity. That we have evolved into a truly shared governing operation with all members having an equal vote. That the interns are willing to not only go to other sites but fully embarrass the tasks and work in front of them. And that the families and guardians support and encourage us to continue.