Youth Grow

After school garden clubs, summer garden camps, school gardens, parent/child workshops, youth garden education training

Youth Grow programs encourage the next generation of veggie eaters and growers to be healthy. Our programs improve nutrition and decrease the risk of food insecurity by teaching low income children lessons in where food comes from, the importance of eating fruits and vegetables and how to grow food through fun hands-on activities.

Healthy Habits Take Root” showcases the PPS Nutrition Services Farm to School Program in action at Lent Elementary. Students experience hands-on garden lessons, farm field trips and Harvest of the Month cafeteria promotions through partnerships with Growing Gardens, Zenger Farm and the Oregon State University Extension SNAP-Ed Program.

Watch the Gardening in Schools segment on AM Northwest KATU News featuring Youth Grow!

Harvest at Lent 0432014 Program Highlights:

  • 534 elementary aged students participated in after-school and summer Youth Grow garden clubs and camps for a total of 4,588 learning hours dedicated to hands-on food gardening activities.
  • 2,581 elementary aged student experiences during in-class activities for a total of 2,705 learning hours; 35 unique teachers were involved in this work.
  • 456 children and 931 adults participated in Family Oriented Workshops and special one- time events learning about healthy cooking, snacking and eating and food gardening.
  • Pre and post surveys show a 27% increase in the types of fruits and vegetables students like to eat after participating in an 8 week Youth Grow club.
    • 33 volunteers assisted with after-school Youth Grow clubs and garden camps. These volunteers contributed 750 hours working directly with Youth Grow students (a value of $15,750).
    • 25 Garden Tender volunteers contributed 125 hours of school garden summer maintenance (a value of $2,625).
    • 229 pounds of school grown food was harvested and served in school cafeterias involving students from 35 classrooms.
    • 34 people graduated from our School Garden Coordinator Certificate Training in 2014, receiving 30 hours of training.

School Partnerships:
Youth Grow makes a three-year commitment to our partner schools. We provide assistance with:

    1. jonah posesDevelopment of after-school and summer food gardening programs through the Schools Uniting Neighborhoods Community School (SUN CS) program;
    2. Support in the development of a  school garden committee;
    3. Integration of parent, teachers and student involvement in the garden;
    4. Support classroom and cafeteria connections;
    5. Provide technical garden advice for integration into the classroom as well as provide after-school and summer Garden Club programming.

2015-2016 Youth Grow schools:  Kelly Elementary/SUN CS (SE), Glenfair Elementary/SUN (NE),  Cesar Chavez K-8/SUN (N), Davis Elementary/SUN (SE), Arleta Elementary/SUN (SE), Lynchwood Elementary/SUN (SE).

Previous partners: Lent K-8/SUN (SE), Ockley Green preK-8th/SUN (N), Earl Boyles Elementary School/SUN (SE), Alder Elementary/SUN (SE), Wattles Boys and Girls Club(SE), Vernon K-8th/SUN (NE), Faubion PreK-8th/SUN (NE), Shaver Elementary/SUN (NE), Humboldt K-8/SUN (N).

Garden Club Winter 2012 038In Youth Grow, students learn to:

  • plant seeds and transplant vegetable starts;
  • harvest, prepare and enjoy fresh vegetables;
  • compost and tend a worm bin;
  • identify insects;
  • work together, plan and think critically!

Each session is between 6-10 weeks long for 1-2 hours each week and each session’s learning activities correspond with the seasons.

“I can’t wait to go to Garden Club to eat more kale!” – Garden Club student, Ockley Green

Youth Grow supports youth gardening in our community:

    • To support teachers, community members and parents to grow long-lasting edible school garden programs, Growing Gardens offers a 35-hour School Garden Coordinator Certificate Training to train school garden specialists;
    • To help meet the growing demand for resources & information about school gardens we offer a School Gardens page with helpful resources;
    • To support Portland Public Schools Nutrition Services incorporate fresh, locally grown produce in their cafeterias, we encourage people to engage in their Harvest of the Month program;
    • To support farm & garden educators in our greater community, we coordinate the Portland Farm and Garden Educators Network (PFGEN) which aims to connect educators, volunteers, youth, families and community members who support healthy food culture, wellness and Portland-area food security through sustainable food and agriculture education;
    • To encourage families to grow together, we offer Family Oriented Gardening Workshops. These workshops are designed to spark interest in children aged 6 to 12 in gardening, and provide fun ways for parents (grandparents, guardians, aunts/uncles, friends) and children to grow gardens together. Workshops topics include: Planning a Dinner Garden, Bugs & Insects, Sensational Gardens, Wondrous Worms, and Munch and Crunch see LEARN & GROW

“The kids program was GREAT! Really kid-friendly. We loved the song and the hands-on coloring/planning activity were great. Also having the kids plant in the container was nice, a great way to get them involved.” – Participant at a Planning a Dinner Garden Family Oriented Workshop

Harvest at Lent 130Volunteer Opportunities:
Caring adults enrich and enhance our Youth Grow garden clubs and summer garden camps! If you are interested in working with elementary aged children and can commit to volunteering 2 hours once a week for 6-10 weeks, fill out the  Youth Grow Volunteer application form. Contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Cristy@growing-gardens.org for more information.

Seasonal volunteer educator trainings are held 3 times per year. No gardening experience is necessary. All volunteers are subject to a background check.