Summer in the Garden
August 1, 2012 — 11th Street hosts members of the Teens 4 Good Program for two weeks at a time, providing opportunities to work in the urban garden and to take part in nutrition and cooking classes. One day, the high school students learned how to cook a healthier version of Chicken Parmigiana. They replaced white pasta with a whole wheat alternative, added vegetables, and grilled the chicken in lieu of frying it. The students incorporated zucchini, kale and tomatoes from the garden.
Teens 4 Good is a youth-led urban agricultural internship where high school students transform vacant lots into urban gardens and farms in order to create multi-purpose green spaces for interactive, hands-on science and entrepreneurship education, art, meditation and community building events. Students also work to improve access to healthy food for their communities. They market and sell produce at farmers’ markets, serve as liaisons to sponsors and clients and package and distribute produce to restaurants. In addition, students develop workshops on topics such as sustainable agriculture, nutritional awareness, consumer awareness and food security. Teens 4 Good creates meaningful jobs for at-risk youth, empowering them to be healthy, responsible young adults and leaders who give back to their communities.
Monica, a high school junior volunteering with Teens 4 Good explained that she learned how to garden and maintain different vegetables such as the pepper plant. Another student chimed in and said that they even grow lavender and rosemary. All of the students said that they have been cooking for their families since entering the program. Monica volunteered to care for the bee sanctuary. It is evident that they are learning skills that most other high school students will not be exposed to.