Maine 4-H Agricultural Leadership Ambassador Program
The goal of the Maine 4-H Agriculture Leadership Ambassador Program is to provide educational experiences for youth ages 14-18 to explore their interest in agriculture. The program focuses on connecting youth with their local food systems and industries, exploring the richness and diversity of the Maine food system, developing ag-vocacy skills, and increasing their access to career and post-secondary opportunities in the agri-science and food system. These goals will be obtained by online and in-person learning modules created by Extension staff, community partners, and industry leaders, along with internships and on-campus activities.
With the shrinking formal agricultural programs being offered to high school youth, there is a need that is not being met. Students who have even just a small desire to explore agriculture and what it means to them are missing out on potential ways to grow their spark.
- With the world population growing, how do we feed 10 billion people by 2050?
But there is a positive trend!
- Agriculture workforce with a degree growing by 3.71% average yearly;
- In Maine, the median age of farmers is up from age 49 in 2002, to 56.5 in 2017. What does that mean?
- Maine and the Northeast account for only about 5% of the national total gross agriculture value;
- Maine youth NEED exposure because they have less opportunity.
Our vision as the program progresses includes:
- Providing high-quality educational programming in agriculture to foster a spark for a future in agriculture;
- Creating and expanding partnerships with local experts, ag-industry leaders, and organizations with similar values and opportunities for youth;
- Providing on-campus opportunities, service learning, training, and connections to further deepen teens’ understanding of agriculture, and create connections to future educational or career pathways;
- Creating an Agricultural Leadership Ambassador Program for teens and college students to help deliver agricultural curriculum to expand our reach.
Proposed six-week Seasonal Themes:
We need your input!
We want to hear your thoughts on how we can address this need. We ask that you please take time to complete a brief survey so that we can gather as much information as possible about how to best serve Maine youth.
If you are interested in learning more about this project, please reach out to our team.