With our farm-based education programs, nearly 3,000 students aged Pre-K to college typically visit The Urban Farm each year. We make student connections to where food comes from covering topics including plant science, nutrition, and environment. Outdoor experiential learning is essential for creating positive food memories, while sparking curiosity and exploration for young minds. The earlier children are introduced to the taste of fresh foods including vegetables, the more impact on their long term health. Families need support to grow up healthy eaters.
Last year due to COVID-19 we created virtual educational materials for the students to maintain the connection. We engaged students with take home kits, including the take home hydroponic kit for nearly 100 MHS 9th grade STEM students.
The Urban Farm has been an important place for high school students all during the pandemic. Being outside safely, connecting to nature and each other socially and learning that food is a resource they are able to grow themselves has been a great experience for these students. This year, with your support, we doubled the high school internship program!
A new farm apprentice program developed to bring vocational education to underrepresented populations in agriculture and environmental careers was kicked off in 2021. Grace and Chris were an integral part of our team. This pilot program is an important part of our future at Grow It Green, as we help build skills and encourage new pathways for students that build resilience in our diverse community.
At the Early Street Community Garden, over 100 families garden with us, surrounded by a unique and sustainable public parklet. This year, we welcomed many new partner organizations like Neighborhood House, Homeless Solutions, Colonial L.I.F.E. and Wind of the Spirit to spread the therapeutic benefits of gardening and provide food for local residents.
Addressing nutritional inequity is only possible in partnership with local organizations. Each year, the farm and garden are planned and planted to grow nutrient dense, healthy fresh food distributed to our partners in the community as part of a more just and more healthy food system creation. Your support and a lot of determination is what helps get fresh food to the people who need it. In 2021, we have already exceeded last year's donations of fresh produce to nourish.NJ, Interfaith Food Pantry Network, Table of Hope and Newark Science and Sustainability. Grow It Green was able to fulfill a critical need this year starting a new partnership with Newark SAS, supplying a large majority of the produce for their Farm to Table Co-Op Shares bringing fresh nourishment to Newark families.