Since its creation more than 100 years ago, 4-H has expanded its focus from the field to the lab to keep pace with developments in agricultural techniques and technologies. Photo courtesy of 4-H.
National 4-H Week happens each October, a time when nearly six million youth celebrate their participation in 4-H. Every year, clubs around the country showcase the great things that 4-H offers young people and highlight the incredible things they do to make a positive impact in their communities.
The 4-H clover is one of the most recognized icons in the country, but it wasn’t always that way. Like most things, it grew – this case from three leaves.
The seeds of 4-H were planted at the start of the 20th century by several adults in different states who were concerned about young people. Clark County, Ohio, claims credit as being the birthplace of 4-H, although the initial groups were called “The Tomato Club” or the “Corn Club.” Read more »
Victoria LeBeaux, national program leader with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Photo by Carlos Harris
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to career development and, according to one of the nation’s new leaders in agriculture, the course one steers toward a profession in agriculture can be as varied and diverse as the population itself.
“I’m not a big fan of the term ‘pipeline’ because it implies that there is only one way in and only one direction you can go,” said Dr. Victoria LeBeaux, a national program leader (NPL) with USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). “If that were true I certainly wouldn’t be here, since I had no intention of studying agriculture.” Read more »
4-H’ers participate in Ujima, an Iowa 4-H program that reflects the positive cultural knowledge that many of the youth possess. Photo credit: Chaisson-Cardenas
In this guest blog, Iowa State 4-H Youth Development program leader John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas takes a look at several ways 4-H is embracing the cultural diversity of its participating youth to make sure youth of color feel welcome as the U.S. student population grows more diverse.
By John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas, Iowa State 4-H Youth Development Program Leader
While the foundational elements of 4-H—experiential learning, positive youth development, et al.—are well-suited for cross-cultural and multicultural contexts, some of the language and traditions of 4-H may not be as culturally relevant to many youth.
In 2014, Iowa 4-H began to intentionally move beyond inclusion to belonging. We expanded on the previous work of our national partner, 4-H National Headquarters, to redevelop programs that reflect the positive cultural knowledge that many of our youth already have. 4-H National Headquarters is part of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), provides funding and national program leadership to 4-H. Read more »
Kirk Astroth, director of the Arizona 4-H Youth Development Program, center, traveled to Nepal in 2014 to teach a train-the-trainer program that led to Nepal’s first 4-H national organization. (Photo courtesy of Kirk Astroth)
The United Nations’ celebrates International Youth every August and this year’s theme is Youth Leading Sustainability. The international recognition focuses on the leading role of young people in pursuing poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development through sustainable production and consumption. There are roughly 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24, the largest generation of youth in human history. They face never-before-seen shifts in populations, economies, technology, health and the environment. USDA and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture help today’s youth navigate these shifts and develop into healthy adults.
Recognizing the voice of youth is important and USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) plays a key role in providing positive youth development through the internationally recognized 4-H program, which empowers youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults. Read more »
A crew from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians takes care of crops inside a high tunnel constructed with Community Food Projects (CFP) funds. CFP grants help local communities take control over their local food supply. (Photo courtesy of John Hendrix)
Fine words, to be sure, but how do we make it true in a department that employs almost 100,000 directly and countless more indirectly at thousands of locations across the country?
At USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), civil rights are inherent to our mission. By promoting equal opportunity and supporting underserved groups and communities, NIFA’s programs help people improve their lives and communities.
NIFA provides funding and national leadership for research, education, and extension programs that address the nation’s agricultural challenges. NIFA-supported programs turn research into action by bringing groundbreaking discoveries from research laboratories to farms, communities, and classrooms. Read more »
4-H sponsors cultural immersion and exchange programs, such as this one in the District of Columbia. Image courtesy of the University of the District of Columbia.
Raising children to be their very best is not a concept unique to any particular country; rather, teaching youth to make better choices and create positive change in their communities is a common theme.
4-H is an American program that provides positive youth development by promoting citizenship, healthy living, science, civic affairs, leadership, positive relationships, safe areas for risk-taking, and more. In 2015, nearly 6.5 million adult volunteers and youth sported the green four-leaf clover as they prepared for college, work, career, and life. As iconic as it is, 4-H is not just an American phenomenon, its principles have become deeply entrenched abroad, as well. Read more »