Youth Gardening Helps Grow the Next Generation of Farmers

Garden Teacher Kim Allen Offers Youth Space to Grow (by Sarah Henry - Berkelyside)

For four years Kim Allen has served as garden program manager for Berkeley Youth Alternatives (BYA), which provides a minimum-wage, internship program for socio-economically challenged adolescents ages 14 to 18. Some come to the garden through word-of-mouth from family or friends, others as part of mandated community service. During the school year Allen’s youth garden crew, typically a group of six to eight, work and learn alongside her in two community garden plots in West Berkeley. There’s the half-acre Bancroft Community Garden, which the BYA shares with two dozen community gardeners on Bancroft Way, and the smaller Community Orchard garden on land the nonprofit owns on Bonar Street. The fruit tree garden includes many heirloom varieties, donated by Trees of Antiquity–among them citrus, apples, and pluots. The Bancroft Garden boasts typical farmers’ market fare. In the summer, BYA offers an eight-week program for a dozen youth, who put in about 20 hours a week. The organization runs a small Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) during peak harvest season… View a student video of the Berkeley Youth Alternatives garden program.

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