Urban Tilth's third annual Summer Urban Agriculture Apprentice Program is off to a fantastic start! During this six-week Learn and Earn project, 40 young Richmond residents will devote 100 hours to cultivating urban agriculture in Richmond, earning $8 an hour while contributing to our community's health and well-being.
Conducted in partnership with the City of Richmond's Summer Youth Employment program, the Urban Agriculture program teaches valuable transferable skills, including how to imagine, design, build, manage, and assess a cooperative effort; the use of applied math and language for budgeting and marketing; and the technical skills of urban ecology, urban agriculture, and food systems.
We're thrilled to report that this year, thanks to the financial support of The California Endowment and the Stewardship Council, we are deepening the program's curriculum to include work-readiness skills, conflict resolution, and community advocacy. The young Urban Ag Apprentices are being led by eight Crew Leaders, themselves graduates of the program, who are building their capacities to lead, teach, mentor, and manage their younger peers.
We started off last week with a full-day training. Here's what one participant wrote about that experience:
"I wish you could have seen and participated in what I saw and participated in today. A circle made of young people -- maybe 40 in all -- with a few adult allies scattered here and there, filling the community room. Black and brown and asian and white; male and female; big and small; still child-like up to near-adult -- the room was filled with dozens of young people. It was the first day of training for the young people lucky enough -- so very lucky enough -- to participate in the Urban Tilth/City of Richmond Summer Youth Employment Program.
"Leading us through the day were two facilitators from the Mind Body Awareness project, Pam and Vinnie, who had spent time with staff last week, getting ready for today. Ready to model and offer a vocabulary of peace, and candor, and solidarity, and hope. From 10 to 3 today, we sat together, and laughed together, and cried together, and listened to each other. We even danced together and cheered each other and hugged each other. There was room for everybody in that room, and there was room for the truth. And the truth is hard. Our children are hurting. Too often they're scared, and too often they're alone.
"Today, with this training, and with the spirit of trust and truth and solidarity that they gave each other today, today for them it began to change. Today, they began to make friends from across the divisions. Today, they began to discover that Urban Tilth operates year-round, and that their summer involvement can extend back into school, with the Urban Tilth school classes and school farms. Today, they found peer mentors, and even some older allies, and they heard people listen to them. Today, they built a bridge together. It was amazing to see. I am so grateful to be able to help the world learn about Urban Tilth, and help partnerships form with Urban Tilth, to work towards the goals that none of us can accomplish alone."
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