Far from the temptations of urban life, our Garden Warriors Apprenticeship program provides a safe place for Native teens to learn about their culture, traditional farming, and health, while developing leadership and job skills. Once accepted in the program, Garden Warriors sign a contract, earn a stipend, and learn basic money management skills.
During a four-week summer session, Native teens (ages 13-18) learn to plant, grow, harvest and cook fresh, organic vegetables. They begin each morning in circle with staff, learning to smudge and pray with tobacco. A Master Gardener from the University of Minnesota Extension program teaches a weekly lesson on garden fundamentals. They rotate on teams to cook and serve a healthy lunch to the entire group, working with our Registered Dietitian. After lunch, they do physical activities like practicing on our archery range, or learn traditional crafts like making tobacco pouches.
Each week, the Garden Warriors work at the Farmers Markets in the Twin Cities. They learn to identify the vegetables and make suggestions for cooking. They also learn about visual presentation, customer service, and how to work with money. A banker from University Bank shows them how to cash a check and open a checking account.
Garden Warriors who show maturity, great attitude, and do well in school are invited to join our year-round Youth Leaders circle.
“My work experience at the farm was great. I had tons of fun learning new recipes and how to cook traditional foods. We all learned about diabetes and how it affects Indian country. I know it is important to stay healthy.”