Our Urban Farm program includes a 3600 square foot community garden and 30’ by 22’ greenhouse, as well, we are in the process of building a second greenhouse to house our herbs year round. These ecological agriculture sites have yielded over 2000 lbs of food each year that we use for our programs.
Central to our activities in the community is our youth garden. From May through October we engage youth in fun hands-on gardening that instills a sense of ownership of the garden space, teaches the skills necessary to grow healthy food, encourages positive attitudes towards healthy eating, and fosters a sense of belonging to a family-type network of peers. The youth have their own section of garden that they are in charge of planning, watering, weeding, harvesting and protecting, and with all this responsibility, you are guaranteed to see any number of youth there every day checking on their hard work. Not only do the youth learn how to be responsible land stewards through the direct experience of growing their own food, they also take part in various sport, art, and music activities, as well as field trips, that are designed to transfer food production knowledge in a fun and empowering way.
We love our community garden. It keeps our children safe and off the streets as well as giving a sence of pride, belonging, letting the kids know that the kids matter and when we all come together we can all do great things.
– Parent and Hope Blooms community member
Over the years the parents of the youth have become more involved in our programming much due to the encouragement by their own children. These plots provide families with the opportunity to grow their own nutritious food in a community setting. Many of these families would not otherwise have access to arable land with which to grow their own food. We now have 27 family plots available to the community for free and will be expanding in the coming season.
I am from Nigeria and farming is a way of life for us there. Having my children Involved in the garden, in farming, feels like I am showing them a tradition from home. It feels like back home at the garden and it has brought my family together. The kids eat the vegetables just because they grew them….like back home.
– Mother, garden plot holder and staff member
The garden is host for many community gatherings where hundreds of people come to celebrate in an inclusive and beautiful environment. Summer BBQ’s, musical performances, community clean-ups, and plant and vegetable sales are a few examples of how this space is used as a setting for the coming together of people.
The garden provided me with socialization when I didn’t know anyone in the city. It helped me feel connectud to and part of the community. It vastly improved my quality of life and the people I have met through it have been lovely. I would be heartbroken to ever see it dissappear. – Community Garden plot holder