Teen Sunflower Seed Farming Cooperative

Do you know of any local youth groups who are already gardening or who might enjoy it? Reve Dele is looking for about 5 groups of 10 to participate in the nutrition, permaculture, and cooperative development training. Please reach out to Reve Dele at marjani.dele@gmail.comif you have any ideas.

The Teen Farming Cooperative is a new project to address the lack of access to healthy snacks and lack of economic opportunities among teens in the DC Metro Area. We are developing a training to teach teens to grow sunflowers sustainably, harvest the seeds and build their own small businesses marketing their organic, locally produced sunflower seeds. Participants who experience this training will not only learn about nutrition and learn to grow their own nutritious snacks, they will develop their own business cooperative and through a simulation experience, marketing their product and creating their own jobs.

Training Event – Feb / March 2013: Nature’s Friends will coordinate an 8 hour training event which introduces teens to the sunflower seed segment of the snack food industry and guides them into creating a market niche for themselves. The earth stewardship portion of the training occurs when students apply permaculture principles while creating micro-climates with sunflower guilds. Participants will also engage in a simulation of the cooperative business structures historically used in farming.

Snack Food Industry

  • National review of sunflower seed segment
  • Regional review of sunflower seed companies and products
  • Local customer base
  • Market Niche Activity

Product Development

  • Growing requirements and techniques
  • Processing Needs
  • Packaging & Pricing Options
  • Planting Activity

Cooperative Business Structures

  • Stories of Producer Coops
  • Stories of Marketing Coops
  • Coop Simulation Activities (maybe play the coopoly game;-))

Partner Agreements

  • Nature’s Friends- Compile training curriculum and coordinate training event
  • Wangari Gardens- Allow research of sunflower guilds in a forest garden system
  • Washington Youth Gardens-Provide space for training activities; allow one patch of sunflowers to be grown for seed and host seed saving workshop
  • University of District of Columbia has been approached to provide growing space for a minimum of 3 youth farming groups

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