Citysprouts Buds Teen Urban Gardeners

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Citysprouts Buds Teen Urban Gardeners
Uploaded: June 30, 2014
by: shiwen.pei

CitySprouts is a school and community program that integrates academic, health, and environmental education in the public schools. As a Cambridge Public Schools partner, CitySprouts is a thriving school garden program at all 12 (K-8th grade) schools in Cambridge.
During the academic year, CitySprouts provides beautiful outdoor classrooms to Cambridge children and supports teachers in using the garden as an outdoor “hands-on” learning area for science, math, literacy, social studies, and art.

In the summer, CitySprouts offers an opportunity for young teens (11 to 13 years old) to intensively engage with their natural urban environment through its Summer Youth Program. During a four-week internship, middle schoolers gain garden skills as they grow and harvest food in an urban garden, develop responsibility and youth leadership skills, become more aware of their environment, and learn about healthy eating and local food systems.
Interns are a part of a team of 7-10 youth based in their own school or neighborhood CitySprouts garden. CitySprouts interns meet four mornings a week for four weeks with a Garden Coordinator and college-aged Summer Fellow in the school garden. There are a wide range of activities and lessons: in just one day, a group of interns may harvest basil and chop garlic to make pesto while another group weeds and adds mulch to the garden. The interns dig through compost as they learn about the garden’s ecosystem and do “morning rounds” to assess the condition of the garden. As they become more familiar with plant and insect identification, they approach their garden tasks, whether it be transplanting marigolds or watering with ease and confidence. Upon completion of the four-week session, interns are awarded a $100 stipend. 

Interns participate in field trips to farms, a food bank, restaurants, food pantries, and shelters. At Gaining Ground Farm in Concord, interns help weed and plant vegetables to be donated to local hunger relief agencies. At the Greater Boston Food Bank, interns bag groceries for seniors in need of food assistance while learning about hunger in the Boston area. Interns also help prepare a meal at a local food pantry, and visit restaurants to assist the chef in preparing a dish in a professional kitchen,
In the last week of their internship, CitySprouts interns host a group of guests in the garden, often other youth their age and younger. Leading guests on tours, teaching garden skills, and preparing fresh snacks, interns practice leadership skills and start to see themselves as leaders in the community. 

Through these various experiences in the school garden and in their communities, CitySprouts interns gain perspective on how food fits into our larger society, and are empowered to make informed decisions about their food choices. 
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