The New York State 4-H Agriculture and Food Systems program engages youth and families in a variety of hands-on activities and experiences that cultivate an increased understanding and appreciation for agriculture and food systems within a positive youth development framework. Rooted in the ecological model of Urie Bronfenbrenner, our Agriculture and Food Systems program is a holistic one that emphasizes complexity of a food system beyond the scope of food production. We promote thinking skills about food from a systems perspective by connecting food systems topics with human health, the environment, economy, and community.
If you have questions about resources in this area, please reach out to
NYS 4-H Health, Wellness, and Food Systems Specialist Dr. Mingla Charoenmuang.
4-H Food Systems PWT
The 4-H Food Systems Program Work Team (PWT) is a collaborative workspace that addresses food systems holistically in terms of health, environmental, social, and economic aspects to help 4-H Educators engage youth in activities and conversations surrounding our food system. The purpose is for youth to recognize connections within the bigger picture, analyze the consequences of the food system, and engage in social issues, which will lead to an understanding of sustainability while becoming more responsible consumers and citizens. For more information on activities of the PWT and opportunities for engagement, please email the co-chairs: Mingla Charoenmuang or Mike Fiorentino.
Learn about other Program Work Teams
Food Systems Exploration
Food Systems Exploration Activity Series invites youth and their families to think more intentionally about food systems, have meaningful conversations across generations, and use the concepts learned to reconnect with family and the community. Youth will explore the modern food system in the lens of social, environmental, and economic aspects. Youth will recognize how they fit into the modern food system and how they can engage in addressing social issues related to food.
Download a digital copy at Cornell Box or find the series with e-learning modules on the National 4-H Website (you will have to log-in to CLOVER by 4-H > Find an activity > Search for "Food Systems for Thought and Change" course)
Curbing Our Carbon Appetite
Ag Innovators Experience is an opportunity to develop the workforce skills to feed the planet and will drive youth awareness of, and interest in, agriculture innovation and agriculture careers. The “Curbing Our Carbon Appetite Challenge” focuses on the understanding of the carbon cycle, carbon sequestration, and the important role both the consumer and the producer play in contributing to a healthy, sustainable food supply to feed a growing world. The activity has an agricultural basis that incorporates STEM skills, teamwork, communication, and workforce development. Utilizing teens-as-teachers model, teen leaders participate in 6-hour training and deliver 1-hour activity to youth participants. Program supplies are available for implementation. Visit Cornell Box to download digital copies.
Food Gardening with Justice in Mind
This newest curriculum from Cornell Garden-Based Learning, created for educators who work with young people ages 13- 19, centers personal growth, community connection, and equity. In Project S.O.W., youth work together to investigate how to grow food, explore their relationship with the land and food system, and practice leadership in their communities.
4-H Wild Edibles
For access to full curriculum 4-H Educators and Volunteers must take training. The training is provided under the supervision of NYS 4-H office, Cornell University Youth in Nature & Outdoor Education Program Work Team, and the Cornell Department of Natural Resources. The ratio of leader to youth ages 12 and over is 1:10. Mandatory training will be offered once or twice a year. Contact your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office for details.
4-H Outdoor Cooking
This guide is meant to provide 4-H members and their instructors with the necessary information and guidance with which they can then lead youth in developing their skill in outdoor cooking. The guide also contains field-tested recipes that are not only delicious, but are healthy, too. Since some of our 4-H’ers are vegetarians or vegans, or consume gluten-free diets, recipes that meet those characteristics are included. Visit Cornell Box to download a digital copy.
Ag In the Classroom
The National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix is an online, searchable, and standards-based curriculum map for K-12 teachers. The Matrix contextualizes national education standards in science, social studies, and nutrition education with relevant instructional resources linked to Common Core Standards. Ag in the Classroom also provides resources for students, such as Career Seeker, Ag Games, and Virtual Tours.