Youth Grow provides hands-on education in school gardens to help all children feel accepted and empowered to make conscious choices, become stewards of the environment, share their culture and increase community resiliency.
What We Do
During the Coronavirus school closures, we have pivoted to provide innovative programming:
- * Distance Learning: Using a combination of virtual class sessions (often from the gardens), videos and online activities, Youth Grow educators are still interacting with hundreds of students. Check out the Youth Grow YouTube channel with video lessons! These lessons are utilized by over 100 teachers to enhance distance learning activities at 10 schools. Each month we produce two online lessons per grade K-5. Lessons are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, and focus on topic such as plant parts, habitats, animal structure and functions, food origins, and ecosystems.
- * Garden Explorer Kits: Distributed 685 of take-home Spring Garden Kits (pots, soil, seeds, “Sprout Journal” activity book, ruler and Home Gardens flyer) at school-based food pantries, 809 Summer Garden Kits (pot, salad mix seeds, materials for native wildflower seed bombs) to 10 schools and a library. 960 Garden Science Exploration kits (magnifying glass, activity book, seeds to dissect, garden treasures). The winter 2021 kit will be supplies to grow microgreens at home.
- * Cooking kits are being created and distributed at each school. The first was 650 “Apple Tasting Kits” in partnership with Portland Nursery. Next up was a sautéed collard greens with cornbread kit in partnership with Black Futures Farm and Faubion elementary. Then, “Dulce de Calabaza” kit with winter squash at four schools in partnership with local urban farms. Coming soon: Yakisoba noodles from Umi Organics, veggies from New Seasons and origami paper with instructions. Then, we’re on to locally-grown popcorn on the cob.
- * Pre-K and Kindergarten Nature kits focuses on a different sense and early-learning skills. Fall kits included one on native tree leaves, a pinecone decorating one, and one to grow flowers at home. The next winter kit will be supplies to make worm puppets.
- * Virtual Garden Clubs We are leading two clubs at David Douglas High School: “Grow, Eat, Teach” and “Food Justice”, and “Garden Club” at Oakley Green Middle school. Students get materials and ingredients to cook and grow food at home, while they join the live online sessions.
- * Organic Produce Donations Shifted to production gardening at school gardens to harvest vegetables and donate them to families at school-based food pantries. 1200 lbs of organic produce were shared with families at school-based pantries over the last year.
Lead garden-based education during the school day, afterschool and summer to engage kids in science and interdisciplinary learning while building skills of classroom teachers. Each year we teach over 2000 students during the school day and 300 in afterschool Garden Clubs
Improve access to and child enthusiasm for healthy fruits and vegetables. We grow produce to donate to the cafeteria, offer in taste-tests and give to families.
Inspire Environmental Stewards
Inspire the next generation of environmental conservationists. We get kids outside to have hands-on experiences with the biodiversity of nature. Lessons that connect to the big picture (soil fertility, pollination, carbon cycle, climate, etc.)
Facilitate intergenerational and multicultural community-building. Last year we participated in over 50 school events to connect families around common interests in gardens and food.
Focus on Sustainability
Build the skills, sense of ownership and resources to ensure that garden programs continue beyond GG’s partnership with each school.
Build a Movement
Play a leadership role in the regional movement to expand and sustain school garden programs for more children, teachers and families.
Where we Work
Our current school partners are:
- Faubion K-8
- Lent K-8
- Kelly K-5
- Whitman K-5
- Scott K-5
- Cherry Park K-5
- Glenfair K-5
- Davis K-5
- Powell Butte K-5
- Patrick Lynch K-5
- David Douglas High School
- Oakley Green Middle School
To apply for a school partnership, please contact our Youth Grow Program Manager Amoreena. Youth Grow takes on new commitments as funding allows and seeks opportunities for joint fundraising.