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Syracuse youth back at farmers markets with Urban Delights stand

 Students in orange and blue shirts gather around a table with fresh produce.
Natasha Senjanovic
Students from SAS, ITC and Henninger high school show off the result of their labor.

As of this week, the Urban Delights Farm Stand is back at the city’s main farmers markets.

The summer program operated by Jubilee Homes has employed Syracuse inner-city youth aged 14 to 21 to grow and sell produce for over 20 years. Participants learn how to cultivate and harvest fruits and vegetables, on a one-care plot on the corner of Bellevue and Midland avenues. The youth are also responsible for setting prices, handling customer service, as well as marketing and advertising.

At the CNY Regional Market Thursday, site supervisor Aniyah Everson says for now they mostly have greens, squash and herbs.

“It started off a little rocky. We usually prepare with a lot more produce like we have eggplant, bell peppers and a lot of other fresh produce,” said Everson. “Due to the frost and the weather it’s not really ready yet. So in about two weeks it should all be ready.”

At 20, she's the oldest of the day’s crew, and has been with Urban Delights for five years. Everson says, this year, they’ll also start offering something new: flowers.

Recent SAS graduate Chance Harris has been with Urban Delights for two years. He says the program is important because it combats the city’s 'food deserts' — areas with limited access to affordable, nutritious food, or even grocery stores.

Like on Syracuse’s South and Southwest sides, says Harris. But growing awareness about healthy food — and the food itself — isn’t that hard, he says.

“As you can see, this is the product of healthy food, everyone. It's easy, it's affordable, it's accessible. Anyone can come down and grab it. You have to put forth effort to change in order for there to be change," Harris said.

"So what we do here, you can do at home. You can start in your backyard, you can go down the street, you can volunteer somewhere. Save the world, save the planet.”

Urban Delights is at the Downtown Farmers Market on Tuesdays and at the Regional Market on Thursdays. Their products are also available through the app Crop2.Shop, which offers home delivery.

Natasha Senjanovic teaches radio broadcasting at the Newhouse School while overseeing student journalists at WAER and creating original reporting for the station. She can also be heard hosting All Things Considered some weekday afternoons.
Marissa Carello is an undergraduate student studying magazine journalism at Syracuse University, expected to graduate in May 2025. As a student contributor at WAER, Marissa helps produce digital and radio stories.