Project:GROW focuses on building community, connections and enthusiasm by engaging youth in transition (age 16-24) in the soil with new friends each week. Some weeks mentors spend a couple hours weeding and harvesting with a mentee at a west side community garden while over at Ekar Farms a group lesson on the grow cycle introduces youth from the Department of Human Services in surrounding counties. On specific weekdays, healthy organic produce is delivered by our youth and their Influencers to local food shelters and food desert Co-ops; connecting our circle of support.
We are bridging our local community through gardening and food sourcing to discover their interdependence with each other. Youth involved with Project:GROW may see the garden as a place to feel pride in ownership and perhaps a launching pad toward their own empowerment and self-esteem as they cultivate compassion while learning a variety of growing practices in a co-created, supportive community.
Our educated garden- influencers will provide the manpower for training. Organic produce will be distributed to regular volunteers in the garden each week.
As a growth opportunity, youth learn how to incorporate their new skills into resumes, providing a path to employment, and create internship opportunities through local collaborations and assistance through farm partners, and other agricultural and wellness agencies.
If you are a gardener or a farmer and would like to share your skills alongside our youth in the garden, please consider volunteering in the garden with Project:GROW.