The Urban Youth Growers is a program of Eighth Day Farm designed to empower youth in the community while providing food to the hungry.
Through collaboration with the African American Awareness and Development Organization (AAADO) four teenagers receive summer employment while furthering valuable life skills of integrity, analytical thinking, motivation, cooperation and creativity through engagement in 3 core and integrated curricula. Following an ecological understanding of life and growth, these skills are developed simultaneously and holistically as the youth engage every week in discussion on social justice, personal development, and farming (an applied field of work).
The program is rich with hands on experience and the opportunity to visit other farms, all while offering a taste of the fortitude required to do the necessary and repetitive work a farm demands. Youth get their hands in the dirt while learning how to enhance that dirt through recycling waste streams into compost. Food safety, the need for organization, record keeping, and the skill of prioritizing will also hit home. Meanwhile discussions of how to bring the knowledge gained to the literal home will be central. Every week we will prepare a different meal together for one of the lunches. Near the end of the summer the youth reinforce and pass on some of what they have learned through working with younger children at the Boys and Girls Club.
Using an ecological framework to depict the multiple influences shaping our interactions with food, youth will gain a deeper appreciation for the role of not only individual responsibility, but of the environmental and structural forces that shape the food system and culture. One of the unique aims of our program is to furnish the participating youth with the critical thinking and knowledge base to work on the macro-level problems towards long-term solutions and widespread positive change.
This program is made possible through corporate sponsors and foundation backers. If you are a part of a company or foundation that would like to partner in this good work, please contact the program director Jeff Roessing at email@example.com.
A special thanks to our financial backers of 2016: The David and Carol Myers Foundation, The Clifbar Family Foundation, and Herman Miller Cares.