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Youth Entrepreneurship

March 26, 2009 | By Patty Cantrell
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

Emily Bingham
Students in Springport High School’s agriscience program earn an income and education selling local foods.

Increasing the awareness and skills of young people who are interested in farming is crucial. Youth entrepreneurship in food and farming ranges from Detroit kids selling produce from their gardens at farmers markets to teenagers at Glen Lake High School in northwest Michigan’s Leelanau County preparing and selling healthy snacks made from local farm ingredients.

One of the most comprehensive in Michigan is the agri-science program at Springport High School, near Jackson. Out of 320 students, 260 participate in the program—working in the greenhouse, operating a farm stand, running a small, subscription-based Community Supported Agriculture business, and marketing pasture-raised chicken and beef.

Springport High’s program provides real summer jobs for students who become part of the cooperative that manages the business end of operations.

Director Pat Henne says the program is about two futures—the kids’ and rural Springport’s.

“We are less than an hour’s drive from Jackson, Lansing, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, and Ann Arbor,” Mr. Henne said. “Our big-scale vision is that we would like for our community to be looked at as a source of food.”

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