By Stephanie Hervey & Doria Robinson - Fund Development Consultant & Executive Director
Beautifying the gardens
As the school year closed we were able to look back on this year’s Urban Agriculture and American Food System class (a part of the Urban Ag Institute) and celebrate a number of successes.
We are excited to announce that we had the highest attendance ever for our Urban Agriculture and American Food Systems class at Richmond High School. The class welcomed 35 high school students eager to learn and participate in our program
50% of those students also elected to apply and now participate in our Summer Youth Apprenticeship Program.
This summer, we were also privileged to have the highest number of applicants in our Summer Youth Apprenticeship Program thus far.
The students are creating their own garden fresh meals, snacks and treats, sharing their creations with the community. Growing more food than ever and as a result getting this food out to our community through two new Community Farm Stand days on Fridays and Sundays. Having the community participate in these events has helped spread the word and sparked more interest in healthy eating and active living!
This year we took the opportunity to integrate concepts that empower the students to conserve and nurture their local environment. We took the students on a field trip to East Bay Regional Parks District Tilden Botanical Gardens where they learned about watersheds, plant communities, beneficial insects and native plants. Exposing the students to endemic and endangered plants of California encourages them to think about how they can integrate plant conservation into the urban agriculture work they are doing in our Richmond High School garden and farm.
This summer we also added ART and garden beautification projects to the Urban Agriculture Institute. We are partnering with the Community Rejuvenation Program to beautify teach neighborhood youth the art of create public murals and mosaics. They will be creating 8 new murals in our Greenway Gardens and 10 new mosaic benches and seating areas. The Greenway Gardens are getting major facelift from the creative efforts of these phenomenal 6 Richmond youth who are passionate about showing the world just how wonderful it is to mix art and food.
With the help of our neighbors who have been bringing us their food waste, our youth apprentices are reducing the cost of buying compost and enabling us to overcome the challenges of waste by creating vermicomposting systems that transform trash into SOIL GOLD, i.e. nutrient rich compost! The students have made a conscience effort to apply permaculture techniques they have learned through the Urban Agriculture class. The result? BEAUTIFUL WORMS = AMAZING SOIL!
Stay tuned for more news from the Urban Agriculture Institute Summer Apprentice Program!
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