Youth & Schools

Growing Hope serves youth and schools in the Ypsilanti community and beyond. Our programs include garden-based nutrition education on the Growing Hope farm, in classrooms, in after-school programs, and in summer camps!

Our youth programs combine hands on gardening education with healthy eating and cooking lessons. During the school year, our Youth and Schools team runs Seed2Plate after-school clubs at Ypsilanti schools and community centers.  During the summer, we employ Ypsilanti area teens as Teen Mentors to learn garden based nutrition education. These teens develop mentoring, leadership, and job skills and work on our urban farm and community sites.  In addition, Growing Hope hosts youth field trips and volunteer groups at our Growing Hope Center demonstration farm and children’s garden. Our goal for 2017 is to continue to support the Ypsilanti school district to develop school gardens, and to help train and empower schools to take part in the Farm to School movement.

Seed2Plate: After-School and Summer Programs
Growing Hope partners with Ypsilanti schools and community centers to empower young people to make healthy lifestyle choices through gardening, healthy cooking, and eating. We work in classrooms, after-school settings and in summer camps teaching garden-based nutrition education lessons. These lessons are interactive, hands-on and introduce youth to gardening and cooking concepts. In the 2016-2017 school year we reached 136 youth in our Seed2Plate program!
In 2017, we continue our valuable partnership with EMU Bright Futures to provide “Seed2Plate” programming at Ypsilanti International Elementary School and Perry Early Learning Center. We also partner with Parkridge Community Center and Head Start at Perry Early Learning Center.
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Teen Mentors Program
The paid Teen Mentor Internship Program provides local Ypsilanti teens with an opportunity to develop mentoring, leadership, and job skills. Teen Mentors work at the Growing Hope urban farm and assist with the garden based nutrition education programs based at the Growing Hope Center an community sites.

Teen Mentors help young learners in after-school programs and summer camps, learn how to grow and cook healthy food, work on the Growing Hope Center farm and gardens, help customers sample healthy food at our Downtown Ypsilanti Farmer’s Market and be a mentor and example to teen and youth volunteers at Growing Hope.

Our 2017 Teen Mentor program is full, but stay tuned for applications in spring 2018! If you’re interested to learn more contact

Teens May 2016 - 2 Here is a photo of one of our Teen Mentors preparing a delicious salad after harvesting lettuce, beets, carrots, edible flowers, and herbs from our Growing Hope farm!

Teens May 2016


Field Trips
During the spring, summer, and fall, school and youth groups visit Growing Hope Center’s urban farm. Youth are encouraged to explore in the youth garden and have the opportunity to learn a lesson that corresponds to what they are learning in the classroom. This is an exciting opportunity for both youth and adults to taste all of the fresh produce on the farm and learn about where their food comes from! It is also an opportunity to be outside and appreciate nature.
For those interested in visiting the Growing Hope farm for a field trip, please contact and fill out our field trip request form: Growing Hope Field Trip Request Form
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School Gardens
Growing Hope  plays an active role in helping establish and support gardens in Ypsilanti area schools with the help of active staff, principals, and community members.  By working collaboratively with staff and administrators, we believe that we can encourage and support cafeterias to provide and promote local produce from area farms and gardens. Throughout 2017, we are working closely with Perry Early Learning Center to support their school garden and healthy lunchroom efforts. In the coming school year we plan to partner with more Ypsilanti schools to help develop their school garden programs. For those outside Ypsilanti, we can be hired as school garden consultants to offer training, resources and support!

Health and Wellness in Ypsilanti Schools
Growing Hope sits on the Ypsilanti Coordinated School Health Team, a coalition of teachers, parents, faculty, school administrators, and nutrition educators whose mission is to promote and implement the district’s Wellness Policy. The Policy guides everyone in the district to make healthy lifestyle choices through eating, physical activity and mental health. Growing Hope continues our efforts to grow a healthy school system through facilitating a Farm to School subcommittee. This committee meets monthly and plans school garden and healthy cafeteria initiatives throughout the district.

Find out more about the Coordinated School Health Team’s Wellness Policy

The Michigan Fitness Foundation supports much of Growing Hope’s youth programming.



March 26, 2018
  • Industry Open House
    March 26, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    16 S Washington St, Ypsilanti, MI 48197, USA
    See more details

April 14, 2018
  • Ypsi Food Awards
    April 14, 2018

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  • "Swing into Spring" featuring the Ypsi Food Awards
    April 14, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
    16 S Washington St, Ypsilanti, MI 48197, USA
    See more details

May 1, 2018
  • Downtown Market Outdoor Opens!
    May 1, 2018 @ 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm

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June 2, 2018
  • Growing Hope's 15th Birthday Party at the Farm!
    June 2, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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