Best Urban Farm
Scattered throughout five neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul are Youth Farm's patches of urban farmland. These 18 garden plots are different from other urban farms. For starters, they're cultivated by students, ages 9 to 24, who move through a series of leadership levels. And while most urban farms are fledgling businesses that support themselves by selling food, Youth Farm is a nonprofit where those students get to take the fresh carrots, kale, apples, and butternut squash home with them — for free. Any participant in Youth Farm's eight-week summer programs (also free) gets sent home with weekly grocery bags full of fresh produce, plus recipe cards in a range of languages for ideas of how to use that food. In 2013, that added up to 10,000 pounds of produce. For 2014, the organization is aiming to get fresh veggies to more than 200 families on a regular basis. So next time you pass one of those farm lots, take a closer look — you might notice that the farmers are the kids from your block.