Youth & Schools

Growing Hope provides school and youth programming which involve classroom, after-school, and summer educational opportunities for young people. Growing Hope provides school and youth programming throughout the school year and into the summer.

Our youth programs combine hands on gardening education with healthy eating and cooking lessons. During the school year our team runs Seed2Plate after-school clubs at Ypsilanti schools and community centers. Ypsilanti area teens are employed through Growing Hope as teen mentors. These teens are trained as nutrition educators to help lead our Seed2Plate sessions for younger youth. The teens gain job skills, develop as leaders, and learn the basics of eating and cooking healthy, local food. In addition, Growing Hope hosts youth field trips and volunteer groups at our Growing Hope Center demonstration farm and children’s garden. In 2016 we will focus more of our work supporting local schools to develop their own gardens and help train and empower these schools to take part in the farm to cafeteria/healthy lunchroom movement.

Seed2Plate After-School & 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 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 2015-2016 school year we have reached 136 youth so far in our Seed2Plate program!
In 2016 we are partnering with Eastern Michigan University Bright Futures to provide “Seed2Plate” programming at YCS Middle School, Washtenaw International Middle Academy (WIMA), and Adams STEM Elementary. We also partner with Parkridge Community Center, the Ypsilanti Downtown Library and Head Start at Perry Early Learning Center.
This summer we are partnering with Bright Futures at West Middle School to provide Seed2Plate programming to Ypsilanti Community Middle School students, Holmes Elementary school students, and Washtenaw International Middle Academy. We are also partnering with Parkridge Community Center Summer Camp and Ypsilanti Downtown Library.
YCS Middle Seedlings
Teen Mentors

Growing Hope provides job preparation skills and employment opportunities for youth ages 14 to 18 through Growing Hope’s Teen Mentor program. These teens learn nutrition and gardening concepts through weekly “Veggucation” sessions, and assist in our “Seed2Plate” summer camps. They also help lead our sampling and cooking demonstration booths at our Farmers Markets and Mobile Farm Stands. Throughout the program teens gain valuable leadership skills and gain knowledge in local food systems and food justice.

For more information see the Position Overview below. We are no longer accepting applications for this year, but will be accepting applications in the Spring of 2017!

Teen Mentor Position Overview

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 The Teen Mentors help to maintain Clifford the Truck, our mobile demonstration farm.

Youth Field Trips
Throughout the year, school and youth groups visit Growing Hope Center’s urban demonstration farm. These youth interact with the farm through planting and harvesting seasonal vegetables. They explore the farm through Growing Hope’s new youth garden, and have the opportunity to plant their own seeds and taste all of the fresh produce on the farm and learn about where their food comes from.
For people interested in visiting the Growing Hope farm for a field trip, please contact


School Gardens

Growing Hope  plays an active role in helping establish and supporting gardens in Ypsilanti area schools. We facilitate an annual Garden Leadership Training where teachers, parents, administrators and students learn about organizing and sustaining a school garden. We also work closely with staff and administrators to encourage and support cafeterias to provide and promote local produce from area farms and gardens. In 2016 we are working closely with the Perry Early Learning Center to jumpstart their school garden and healthy lunchroom.

Perry May 2016 Perry Early Learning Center students and Growing Hope staff helping to till the soil at the Perry Garden. Perry garden - 6:14:16 Perry Early Learning Center students helping to plant squash, pumpkins, beans, and tomatoes!

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.

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

The Michigan Nutrition Network supports much of Growing Hope’s youth programming.


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