Adding a Youth Flavor to Extension's Signature Programs

These activities resulted from the Adding a Youth Flavor to Extension’s Signature Programs project, which was funded by a 2015 OSU Extension Innovative Grant and the Patricia Kunz Brundige Youth Development Fund for Positive Youth Development Research, to increase awareness and interest of local foods in youth. These activities were designed by a team of OSU Extension professionals and 4-H teens with an emphasis on peer education - 4-H teens from across Ohio have been equipped with these lessons in order to facilitate events for youth in their home counties.

Below are free, downloadable lesson plans and resources for activities designed to engage youth around the subject of local foods. 

A note about the lesson plans – there is no prescribed order for how the lessons should be presented. However, the activities increase in complexity with 1. Flashcards being the most basic and 5. Growing Community Involvement being more involved and requiring higher levels of thinking and time commitment. Decide on the activities to present by matching the content and availability of resources (i.e. facilities, supplies, money) with the age and experience of the audience. Ideally, all five lessons will be presented to an audience for a holistic understanding.

Introduction and References

Learning About Levels of Community Change

Lesson One: Ohio Foods Flashcards - a flexible and quick activity whereby youth match pictures of Ohio produce with its respective name and MyPlate food group

Lesson Two: Sensory Testing - activity whereby youth analyze Ohio versus non-Ohio produced foods based on appearance, smell, taste, touch, and overall preference

Lesson Three: Grow Your Own - activity whereby youth experience the ease of growing plants and participate in producing food

Lesson Four: Chopped - activity whereby youth compete to prepare a locally-sourced meal and are judged on its taste and appearance

Lesson Five: Growing Community Involvement - activity whereby youth brainstorm a plan of action for involving their community in the local foods movement


On Saturday September 19, 2015 youth leaders were trained in the lessons and received an Ohio Local Foods supply kit to teach each lesson to 25 people in their home communities.