Talk about growing pains. One urban farm in the Seattle area is so successful that it must expand to keep operating. Seattle Youth Garden Works does several things for the surrounding community, and growing food is just half the story. The youth who till the soil, maintain the gardens and grow vegetables have a very distinct purpose within this urban farm movement. Seattle Youth Garden Works accepts about 60 new teenagers per year into its program, which is why the organization is expanding the farm to include a new classroom, a bigger teaching kitchen and better greenhouses. KING 5 reports the urban farm teaches homeless kids to succeed in life no matter what goals drive them. The support network provided by the urban farm is a lifeline for children from broken homes and abusive family situations.
This special urban farming program provides kids a home while they learn life skills and how to run a farm. Teenagers tend to the farm in various ways, from planting seeds to selling the bounty. The organization pays the children, who range in age from 15 to 21, to work the farm and grow food. Then, they sell the fruits and vegetables for a profit. Meanwhile, participants learn stress management and job search skills. The overall goal is to get these youngsters ready for a job in adulthood.
This video shows the kids preparing fresh vegetables outside in a kitchen.
Robert Servine, the program manager, notes the farm “is the greatest teaching tool we have” in the fight against homelessness and hunger in the Seattle area.
After 20 years, the program seems to fill an unfortunate need very well. In 2011, the farm expanded to include a plot of land at the Center for Urban Horticulture that works with the University of Washington. This latest expansion continues to aid homeless kids as the program lets them realize they can make a difference and they can succeed on their own.Several urban farms — not just the one in Seattle — help citizens learn the responsibilities of planting, growing and selling food. You can support The Food Project in Boston and help grow up to 250,000 pounds of fresh food every year!Whizzco