Grounded and Growing

Empowering youth to engage in community hunger initiatives while taking control of their own health and nutrition.

The Grounded and Growing youth program will address community food security needs by providing the participants with garden and nutrition education, farm-to-table experiences, and service-learning opportunities. Youth will gain a better understanding of our local food systems while turning knowledge into action. The Grounded and Growing program will work with community partners involved in closing the gaps within the food desert areas of Montgomery County.

An excerpt from The Foodbank of Dayton’s website:

“According to Feeding America’s annual report, Map the Meal Gap 2017, Montgomery, Greene, and Preble counties have a 16.8% food insecurity rate compared to the national average of 12.7%.

A household is food insecure if there is not access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. Each year, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) measures the extent and severity of food insecurity in households through a nationally representative survey. These statistics are released in a report called Household Food Security in the United States and are based on a measure of food security derived from responses to questions about conditions and behaviors known to characterize households having difficulty meeting basic food needs. Results from this survey were released today by Feeding America through Map the Meal Gap 2017, reporting for 2015.”

This program is aligned with Five Rivers MetroParks’ mission, vision, purpose and values.

Program Description: Grounded and Growing is an 8-week, summer service-learning empowerment experience for youth ages 12-16. Participants will develop self-awareness, strong leadership and life skills, and community/ earth-centric connections. Each week, a new topic will be introduced in relation to growing food, nutrition/cooking, food systems, conflict management, and food equity. Topics will build upon prior learning and youth will eventually feel confident and empowered to lead mini-outreach events.

Participants will:

  • Work in the garden (plant seedlings, weed, water, nurture, harvest, build beds/create trellises, make garden art)
  • Learn about food-systems, nutrition, and a healthy life-style.
  • Prepare farm fresh meals for themselves, their families, and community members.
  • Give fresh produce to local community members in need.
  • Take field trips to local farms/community gardens.
  • Participate in service learning opportunities and attend meetings, workshops or events in relation to food justice.

When does Grounded and Growing happen?

All Grounded and Growing participants will meet for 8 weeks. Youth are expected to attend all sessions.

  • Tuesdays, 9 AM to 12:30 PM
  • Wednesdays, 9 AM to 3 PM
  • Fridays, 9 AM to 12:30 PM
  • Saturdays: Some optional opportunities

Who should apply for Grounded and Growing?

Youth ages 12-16 years old who:

  • Who enjoy being outside during the summer
  • Have an interest in gardening and/or community service
  • Can commit to attend all sessions
  • Want a unique summer experience
  • Want to make new friends

What are the benefits?

In addition to developing leadership, advocacy, and gardening skills youth will have a summer of fun, receive a certificate of program completion logging 25+ hours of service. Participants will also gain access to year-round mentorship/support to use towards their own school/community projects in relation to gardens and food.

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