Youth Agriculture Entrepreneurship Program

The Youth Agriculture Entrepreneurship Program, a strategy of The Health Collaborative’s Healthy Eating action team, places youth in the role of the change agent, pairing creativity with experiential learning, creating an effective pathway to confronting the region’s health challenges. During an eight-week paid intensive summer program, participating youth will learn to plant, grow, harvest, cook and sell their own produce on a teaching farm, while also learning valuable life and workforce skills. The outcomes for this project are aimed at increasing access to healthy eating options, empowering youth to become change agents for healthy behaviors in their communities, providing low-income youth with summer employment options that build leadership, entrepreneurial, business and marketing skills.


2018 Youth Agriculture and Entrepreneurship Program

The Healthy Eating Action Team (HEAT), worked with more than 40 middle and high school students from Danville and Pittsylvania County who participated in the Youth Agriculture and Entrepreneurship Program (YAEP). YAEP is a paid, intensive summer program that places youth in the role of change agent; pairing creativity with experiential learning and workforce readiness training. In partnership with Danville Community College's Emerging Leaders program, the 2018 YAEP Crew engaged with the Dan River Region's agricultural and entrepreneurial communities to:

  • Create a vision for a healthy community
  • Participate in discussions and workshops on community engagement, advocacy, health equity and social justice
  • Start seeds and tour Grace and Main Urban Farm and Families First Children's Center
  • Explore Fox Ridge Acres Blueberry Farm and Vanderhyde Dairy
  • Cook healthy recipes and participated in food safety activities with Virginia Cooperative Extension
  • Develop business plans for food system based businesses in order to address the health challenges our community
    Learn about agricultural technology and soil health

As a capstone project, the YAEP Crew participated in a business pitch competition, which highlighted their innovative, social enterprise solutions to address hunger and low access to fresh healthy foods in their communities. Congratulations to team Farm Fresh for their winning pitch!

Thank you Danville Community College, God's Storehouse, Virginia Cooperative Extension, The Launch Place, Ballad Brewing, Grace and Main, Middle Border Forward, Danville Pittsylvania Chamber of Commerce, Danville Regional Foundation, Caswell Flower Co., Mesure.io, Families First Children's Center, Fox Ridge Acres, Vanderhyde Dairy, King - Cropp Farm, and Broad Shoulders Farm for making YAEP 2018 a huge success! 

2017 Youth Agriculture And Entrepreneurship Program

In 2017, the YAEP Crew worked on establishing a community garden at Pleasant View, helped Right Touch Christian Church start their Lots of Potential garden and assisted in expanding the community garden at Cardinal Village. In addition to gardening, the YAEP Crew participated in a several other activities including: 

  • Workshops through Virginia Cooperative Extension focusing on how to start a garden and soil structure
  • Low ropes course with Danville Parks and Recreation 
  • Field trips to Durham HUB Farm, Loaded Goat, Hudson Heritage Farm, First Fruits Farm, Evergreen Lavender Farm and Hammock Dairy Farm
  • Business planning workshops focused on starting food-based businesses
  • Cooking demonstrations  with Virginia Cooperative Extension, Durham Hub Farm, and Michael Moroni from Bon Appetit (Averett University)
  • Dan River Region  Youth Summit,  Health Equity Workshop, Vision 2035 input session, Re-imagine the Streets (Complete Streets Pop Up Event) and attended a Young Leaders Panel at Averett University
  • Workforce skills seminars with the Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness on delivering effective presentations and "Finding Your Why"