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Jesus Cuezzi on Mentoring Young Farmers

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American Family Farmer

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Jesus Cuezzi grew up in Waukegan, IL and was introduced to farming after his junior year in high school. He applied for a summer job with the Green Youth Farm, in Lake County, and worked with 25 other teenagers, planting, maintaining and harvesting the produce in this 1.5 acre plot. He returned to the farm for a second season, but this time as a crew leader. This is when his aptitude for farming skills and teaching others really took off. Through his work at the farm he was able to come out of his shell and truly shine as a leader. So far, Jesus has mentored over a hundred peers and teens, connected with thousands of farm stand customers, sharing recipes and vegetable growing knowledge, and grown over 30-thousand pounds of sustainable produce for his community. Windy City Harvest Youth Farm educates and employs 80 to 90 teens each year, from low-income communities at three farm sites in Chicago and one in Lake County. As they advance through this program, they learn to grow food responsibly, work as a team, advocate for food justice, eat in a healthy way, and become accountable 14to themselves, their fellow farmers, and to their employers.

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