Health in Motion: In the Garden with Food City Fellows Northside
This article is second in a new series called Health in Motion brought you by Let’s Move Pittsburgh. Health in Motion is intended to showcase the efforts of schools and community organizations in the Pittsburgh region who are leading children to a healthier future. A new project with a guest author or interviewee will be featured each month. Let’s Move Pittsburgh hopes that Health in Motion will encourage leaders to adopt healthy programs in their communities and inspire readers to make healthy changes in their own lives.
Let’s Move Pittsburgh had the pleasure to sit down with two Food City Fellows to learn about their summer experience with Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh (CMP). For the fifth year, CMP has hosted 8-12 high school students for a 6-week summer program called Food City Fellows that provides youth with hands on job skills and educates them about healthy lifestyles, food justice, agriculture, cooking and nutrition. The fellows participate in a variety of activities over the summer including field trips to community organizations, service learning opportunities and fitness and cooking classes. The program takes place at Food City Community Garden on the Northside, where each teen plants and maintains their own individual plot throughout the summer, in addition to helping create a new Children’s Garden for the neighborhood youth
Below, we will hear from two of the fellows, Jayona and Cory, about the highlights of their summer. Jayona, a Pittsburgh native, is a recent high school graduate who plans to pursue a career in nursing. Cory, a rising senior in high school, lives in Philadelphia and wants a future career in law.
Q: What was your favorite part of the Food City Fellows program this summer?
Jayona: Watching my watermelon and zucchini grow.
Corey: Helping people- I liked setting up the dragon tires and working in the children’s garden at the museum (Note: The teens painted tires to create a playful dragon sculpture in the Children’s Garden at Food City).
Q: What was your favorite field trip?
Jayona: We visited [Ola’s Herb] shop where Ola taught us about how to use herbs for medicine. It was really cool.
Corey: I liked going to the event at the beginning of the summer where we met people from the other garden programs.
Q: What was your favorite fruit or vegetable that you planted in the garden?
Jayona: Watermelon, zucchini and tomatoes.
Corey: Blueberries and potatoes.
Q: For the cooking classes on Fridays, what was the favorite dish that you ate?
Jayona: The salad when we got to make our own ranch dressing.
Corey: The ranch dressing and salad.
Q: What was the main lesson you learned?
Jayona: How to take care of a garden.
Corey: Working in the garden made it easier to know where food comes from.
Q: What was the most challenging part of the program?
Jayona: Mulching in the heat. We had to carry the mulch down into the garden, and it was so hot. I also got frustrated when we planted things that didn’t grow.
Corey: Mulching. It was really hot outside.
Q: Will you continue to garden after this experience?
Jayona: Maybe. I might try to grow some fruit.
Corey: Maybe a fruit or two at my school.
Q: What did you like about the experience that surprised you?
Jayona: I didn’t like being in the garden that much at first, but once I started seeing my food grow, it was really cool.
Corey: I wasn’t sure what to think about it at first, but once I started helping other people I liked it.
Jayona and Corey ended their summer experience at the Annual Youth Garden Summit on August 4th at Phipps where 50 teens from garden- and food- related programs shared stories about their programs. The event culminated with the teens eating a delicious salad with ingredients from their gardens!
For more information the Food City Fellows program at CMP, please visit https://pittsburghkids.org/about/in-the-community/food-city-fellows.