4-H Broiler Chick Project Connects Youth Livestock Producers to Local Food System

4-H and FFA Youth tour the HACAP Food Reservoir at a 4-H educational workshop in May. Other workshop topics included caring for and feeding your birds and preparing your 4-H project to be exhibited at fair.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa – Benton and Linn County 4-H and FFA youth participated in the 4-H Broiler Chick project and donated 110 birds, more than 525 pounds of meat, to the HACAP Food Reservoir for direct distribution to families in need.

Benton and Linn County 4-H programs partnered to expand the 4-H Broiler Chick Project after Linn County’s 2021 adoption of the program where youth donated over 270 pounds of protein to HACAP. Local 4-H and FFA youth register to participate in the project annually in April. Participating youth increase their knowledge of the poultry project area, learn about animal stewardship, and explore local meat production in a safe and mentored environment as 4-H program participants. In June, youth exhibit their meat bird pens at the Benton or Linn County Fairs. Once the fair is complete, poultry are transported to a processor and then the local 4-H and FFA raised protein is donated to HACAP.

“Protein is the most sought-after food for families experiencing food insecurity. This project is a way to engage with the youth in our community, help them learn about challenges families face and provides a great source of protein for those in need. All meat was distributed by the very next day after it arrived. The 4-H Program has been a great partner on this project, and we hope to expand the program in the years to come.” shared Kim Guardado, HACAP Food Reservoir Director.

4-H and HACAP have identified long term project impacts of increasing access to fresh protein in the area and developing a sense of generosity and mastery through project learning and service for participating youth. This program was made possible by support from Interstate Grain Services in Center Point, Iowa, and Celebration of Ag in Linn County. “It is special to watch young people connect their spark, or interest, for raising poultry with real-time community impact through local donation of fresh protein. This project connects youth to mentors in the poultry project area and helps them identify food insecurity in their community while transforming them into changemakers to alleviate it.” says Emily Damro, 4-H Youth Program Specialist serving Benton and Linn County.

To learn more about the impact HACAP is making in your community visit hacap.org/our-initiatives. For more information on the Iowa 4-H Youth Development program, or to learn more about supporting the youth as they make a difference in their community, please contact your local county ISU Extension and Outreach office or visit the Iowa 4-H website at www.extension.iastate.edu/4h.

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