Youth Ag-education Innovation Cooperative (Texas A&M University)

Team Members: Juan Whiting, Taya Brown, Levi Brewer, Nate Haight, Shiva Thompson

School: Texas A&M University

This project seeks to establish a Youth Ag-education and Innovation Cooperative (YAIC) to empower at-risk youth by putting them in the position to work side-by-side with their peers. By including a constitution and by-laws, this program will give young farmers ownership of their ventures so they gain leadership, teamwork, and communication skills within a democratically led institution. YAIC will partner with a local Rwandan NGO, Building Bridges to Rwanda (BBR), and a private American aquaponic company, WeFeedUs, to establish agri-tourism study abroad programs with four American universities. The fundamental goal is to help youth change their negative perception of agriculture through a participatory community-based curriculum program within the framework of a successful agricultural cooperative.