Teaching Kids about Agriculture in Urban Areas
How is FamilyFarms Charities helping urban youth learn about ag?
FamilyFarms Charities is partnering with Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation’s Summer Camp and After-School Program for Urban Youth to provide opportunities for program participants to learn more about agriculture. The goal of the project is not just teaching kids about agriculture, but to make them more aware of where their food comes from.
FamilyFarms Group employees and members recently spent a day planting a garden as well as bushes and trees at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center in East St. Louis. FamilyFarms Charities provided the labor as well as plants and necessary upkeep tools to be used by the children. This garden project will help the youth involved in the center’s programs, both summer and after-school, to get hands-on experience gardening. The project includes fruit trees, berries, and a large vegetable garden. The bulk of the produce is planted just outside the center’s main building!
The children that participate in the summer program will help with the weeding and caring for the garden to help in teaching the kids about agriculture. Additionally, for summer of 2013, FamilyFarms Charities has prepared an educational program with information about ag, food, nutrition, and gardening. The kids will be able to gain valuable information about agriculture through classroom tools and hands-on gardening. FamilyFarms Charities will also be providing gardening and ag-related books for the center’s library.Participants in the center’s after-school program will also have the opportunity to harvest vegetables this fall.
Not only will we be teaching kids about agriculture, and they will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor, literally. Some of the vegetables will be used in meals provided by the center to program participants. They can also make excess produce available to members of the community in an effort to get everyone involved in this garden project.
FamilyFarms Charities is committed to teaching kids about agriculture and to the long-term success of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center’s urban ag for youth program. The garden can easily be expanded to produce in future years more as the children’s skills grow. The ag education element will be expanded each year through gardening experiences and related curriculum; other ag-related topics will also be explored and there is the potential to teach business skills such as planning, budgeting, and selling.
The Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center, located in East St. Louis, includes 37 acres surrounded by a fence and filled with a large, well-equipped building and several sports fields (football, soccer, two baseball, two softball). An 8-week summer program and an after-school program. provide learning and sports activities to many children from the community. The Center’s mission is to provide youth, adults, and families with the resources to improve their quality of life and to enhance communities worldwide, with special attention directed to East St. Louis, Illinois.