GROWING GARDENS: GROWING THE NEXT GENERATION OF VEGGIE EATERS AND GROWERS
Last week on Locus Focus we talked about transforming school lunch programs into vehicles that encourage kids to eat healthy foods, while teaching them about the connections between food, health, and the environment. This week we look at a program in Portland that not only shows young people how to make healthy food choices, but actually helps them learn how to grow their own food. GROWING GARDENS gets at the root of hunger in Portland, by organizing hundreds of volunteers to build organic, raised-bed vegetable gardens in backyards, front yards, side yards and even on balconies, in low income neighborhoods on Portland's east side. On this episode of Locus Focus, we talk with Caitlin Blethen, who manages theYouth Grow youth gardening program at Growing Gardens
, which is cultivating the next generation of veggie eaters and growers. We're also joined by Gage Reeves, who teaches at Vernon Middle School, where a mighty school garden thrives, and Tyler White, a fifth grade gardener at Faubion School in NE Portland.
Caitlin Blethen manages “Youth Grow” the youth gardening program at the Portland based non-profit Growing Gardens. She has over ten years of experience working with school and youth gardening programs in Washington and Oregon and has a BA degree from the Evergreen State College. Her favorite part of her work is watching children explore, discover and learn about growing edible plants. Caitlin lives in SE Portland where she and her partner Bryan cultivate a mini-farm.
Gage Reeves teaches 5 - 8th grades at Vernon Middle School. He started the school's garden and is working now to build a school garden ed program that encompasses "core" curricular connections to health/nutrition, ecological responsibility, life/physical/earth sciences, in addition to teaching the students how to start, plant, and harvest food, grown at the school, and eaten in the school cafeteria. His wife Sarah Canterberry is an instrumental part of the garden program at Vernon as well and teaches the after school program garden club.
Tyler White will be starting fifth grade at Faubion School in NE Portland this fall. He comes from a family of chefs and gardeners and is carrying on his family traditions in the garden at his grade school.