Real Food Rising

Summer and Academic Year Youth Programs Available

What We Do

Real Food Rising brings together teens from diverse geographical, economic, cultural, and racial backgrounds to grow healthy food for their community, engage in meaningful work and develop essential skills to succeed and thrive in the future, all while earning a stipend.




Youth Programs

_DSC1636We offer two main programs: Summer Youth Program and Academic Year Program. We hire 18 youth crew workers to work during the Summer Youth Program (June-Aug) and 12 youth for the Academic Year Program ((Autumn & Spring). Youth gain the following skills from Real Food Rising’s program:


  • Job Training and Leadership: Job training is core to our program. All interested youth go through an application and interview process to apply and those that are hired earn a stipend for their work and receive relevant feedback from staff and fellow crew workers regarding their job performance. Crew workers are held to high standards of performance while developing leadership and public speaking skills by leading elementary-aged students on field trips and volunteers of all ages through farm work.


  • Food Production and Healthy Eating: Crew workers spend half of their work time learning how to plant, maintain, and harvest diverse vegetables and fruits on the farm using sustainable agriculture techniques. The youth later learn different ways to prepare the food they’ve grown in interesting and healthy ways through cooking classes.


  • Service Learning: Once a week, crew workers volunteer at the hunger relief organizations where we donate produce from on the farm. Serving clients at food pantries and soup kitchens is the most transformative part of the program for many youth. Crew workers also assist farmers around the valley by “farm mobbing” different farm sites and harvesting excess fruit from homeowners’ trees.


Approximately 50% of the youths’ time is spent doing physically demanding farm work and 50% participating in educational workshops, team-building activities, and community service. Applicants must be between the ages of 14 and 17 by the start date of the program.


The Farm

We grow our produce on 1.25 acres of restored urban land that we lease from Neighborhood House, a nonprofit center that has been providing quality, affordable day care and support services to children and adults for over 100 years. In 2016, through the enthusiastic work of the youth in our program, we provided over 15,000 pounds of fresh, organically grown produce to the local community.


What We Grow

We grow a diversity of vegetables, fruits, and herbs, including: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, beans, sweet potatoes, kale, cucumbers, melons, squash, beets, carrots, cilantro, onions, and garlic. As our fruit orchard and berry bushes mature, we will also have strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, currants, apples, cherries, pears, apricots, and peaches available.


Our Farming Practices

We practice sustainable agriculture on the farm. Techniques include natural forms of pest control to avoid the use of harsh chemicals; drip irrigation to conserve water; beekeeping for pollination; composting, crop rotation, and cover cropping to improve soil structure and naturally fertilize the soil.


How Our Produce Is Used

  • TomatoesDonations. RFR donates produce to food pantries and soup kitchens in Salt Lake County. Donating produce is a way to ensure everyone has access to fresh, healthy food. 70% of our produce is given to hunger relief organizations and the Utah Community Action Central Kitchen.


  • Farm stand sales. Our community farm stands increase access to fresh, healthy food for our neighbors while providing important job skills (marketing, money management, customer service, etc.) for youth in our program. We sell our produce at affordable prices and accept SNAP, formerly food stamps. In 2015 we managed three farm stands: Neighborhood House, Mountain View Elementary, and New Root’s Sunnyvale Market. This summer, Real Food Rising produce is sold in food desert neighborhoods in partnership with Salt Lake City’s Urban Greens Market program.


  • Wholesale sales to local restaurants. We work with several wholesale accounts like restaurants, catering businesses, and small grocers to sell our produce and bring in revenue to help support the long-term sustainability of our program. Wholesale partners in the past have included Squatter’s, Sage’s Café, Nuch’s, South East Asian Market, Bambara, Urban Pioneer, University of Utah’s Social Soup, and All Chay.


  • Community Outreach. We prepare and serve our own produce for community lunches, cooking classes, and our Annual Fall Celebration event.


  • Family nutrition. Our youth crew workers take produce home to share with their families.

Request Application

Applications for the 2017 Summer Youth Program are now closed.

Summer Youth Program

The Summer Youth Program (SYP) is the entry point for most youth and runs from the third week in June through the first week of August. During this 7-week program, typically 18 crew workers work together to grow and donate thousands of pounds of fresh produce. Youth are split into three crews of 6, each led by a college crew leader. This program is four days a week, seven hours a day; youth earn a biweekly stipend of $280.

Crew workers spend the mornings growing food and maintaining the farm. In the afternoons, youth participate in workshops and hands-on activities that address a variety of issues (sustainable agriculture, personal finance, identity, cooking, and communication). Crew workers also spend time volunteering at local hunger relief organizations and participating in food preparation classes.

This program is open to all teens ages 14-17 who can reliably get to and from the farm site on time.

Academic Year Program

Our Academic Year Program is full for the 2017-2018 school year. We will open the application process for our summer program in March 2018.

The Academic Year Program (AYP) builds upon the Summer Youth Program and emphasizes leadership and public speaking skills while also deepening agriculture knowledge. This program runs for 15 weeks in the autumn and 15 weeks in the spring. Crew workers work two days a week after school (4-6 PM) and on Saturdays (9 AM-3 PM). Youth earn a biweekly wage of $145. Students who commit to the entire academic year season are eligible for wage increases.

During the week, crew workers spend time participating in public speaking workshops and working on the farm. On Saturday mornings they lead community volunteers through field work and activities. Saturday afternoons are spent deepening knowledge of food systems, participating in cooking classes, and selling produce at farm stands.

This Academic Year Program is open to alumni of the RFR Summer Youth Program.

Please fill out the form below for more information or to request an application.

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Contact Us

Program Coordinator
Laurie MacMillan

Office Phone
(801) 214-3231

Office E-Mail Address

Office Address
764 S. 200 W.
SLC, Utah, 84101


Farm Address & Directions

We’re located just west of Neighborhood House and just east of the Jordan River Parkway. There is parking on 500 S in front of the farm or in the parking lot east of the front gate.


RFR map

Real Food Rising Farm
1122 W 500 S
W of Neighborhood House
E of Jordan River Parkway



The nearest high-traffic roads are 400 South and 900 West. If driving from the east side of I-80/I-15, please note that the interstate blocks access to the farm via most streets. You must use 400 South or 800 South to pass under the freeway.


Public Transit

Bus fare is $2.50 for a 2.5-hour pass, and you can pay on the bus. If riding Frontrunner or TRAX, check individual bus info for train/bus transfer points (click here to use the UTA Route Finder). You can use your TRAX pass as a transfer on the bus.

The following UTA bus routes run within 2 blocks of the farm:

  • 516 runs along 400 S. Bus 516 is the most frequent bus and drops passengers off the closest to the farm.
  • 509 runs along 900 W.
  • 513 runs along 900 W.



The Real Food Rising farm is located right next to the Jordan River Parkway. Click one of the links below to find a route.

About Real Food Rising

After working for the Food Project in Boston, Mass., and founding Urban Roots in Austin, Texas, our founding director, Mike Evans, moved to Salt Lake City with a big idea for our community. Under Mike’s leadership, Real Food Rising was created in 2012 under the umbrella of Utahns Against Hunger. Real Food Rising started out with a handful of youth growing a few hundred pounds of food on a quarter acre of land. As of 2015, we’ve expanded onto an additional acre of land and hired more than 30 youth crew workers.

We joined Utah Community Action in 2015. Since that first year, we’ve grown and donated over 25,000 pounds of produce to over 10 food pantries and have helped 65 teens from different socio-economic backgrounds gain valuable skills in job readiness, healthy living, leadership, communication, and positive relationships.