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We have learned alongside our Community Partners as they have faced challenges, overcome barriers, and achieved extraordinary successes. Find out more about each project and the outcomes below.











Project Title:

Urban Roots

Project Description:   

YouthLaunch is a youth-development organization that changes the lives of young people in Austin and throughout Central Texas by providing them with community service opportunities that expand their outlook on life, work, and their ability to improve the world around them. 

Urban Roots is the latest undertaking by YouthLaunch. Urban Roots uses sustainable agriculture as means to effect lasting change for youth participants and nourish East Austin residents who currently have limited access to healthy foods. It also seeks to develop environmental activists and community leaders by offering young people an opportunity to learn firsthand about sustainable food production. On an urban organic farm, our project provides employment, life, leadership and job skills, and service opportunities to under-served youth aged 14-17 in East Austin. The interns harvest and distribute the produce through a variety of outlets, all while learning firsthand about sustainable agriculture. Teeming with life, this urban farm functions as a catalyst for positive change, helping to develop a healthier, more vibrant community.

Grant Status:   

YouthLaunch recruited, interviewed, and hired 30 youth as Farm Interns to work on an urban organic farm. The interns attended a retreat orientation at Hornsby Bend, and worked around four hours Saturdays and for two hours after school twice a week. On Saturdays, the interns worked in the fields planting, weeding, and harvesting. Workers spent three additional hours on Saturdays in educational workshops focused on team-building and problem solving activities.

Urban Roots also educates and empowers youth to become active and informed advocates for sustainable agriculture, environmental sustainability, food access, and hunger relief through the urban farm. YouthLaunch conducted 40 workshops and educational activities, interns worked 58 hours on average per youth in the field, and interns led 6 volunteer days on the farm. In addition to the youth interns, 393 community volunteers worked on the farm. Fifty people visited the farm for educational field trips.

The Urban Roots interns distributed 4,436 pounds of healthy and affordable food to East Austin residents with limited access to healthy foods. Of the produce harvested: 1,842 pounds were donated to hunger relief groups, volunteers, and interns, and 2,594 pounds were sold at farmers’ markets, through Community Supported Agriculture and through retailers. Participants interviewed and evaluated many hunger relief programs and donated to seven organizations: Meals on Wheels and More, Caritas, Angel House Soup Kitchen, Manos de Cristo, AIDS Services of Austin, Posada Esperanza, and Lola Queen Nubian, a restaurant that serves free meals to the homeless on Sundays in East Austin.

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