Hi, my name is Juniper, and I’m Growing Hope’s Teen and Schools Manager! I’m still in my first year here at Growing Hope, though I have years of experience working with teens to promote youth-driven spaces. 

At my core, I’m an artist, and I’ve used that background to collaborate with teens and young adults to support them in achieving their creative goals, whether publishing books, creating short films, painting murals, or producing theatre. My passion for gardening and social justice, combined with my experience working with youth, attracted me to working with Growing Hope and adding my creative flair to our work with the land– after all, nature is my muse!

In the Teen Leadership Program, we lead workshops ranging from food and social justice issues to agricultural skills and community organizing. For the past few weeks, and continuing into February, we have been learning about the prison industrial complex, as well as support-based alternatives to policing and imprisonment. By acknowledging our current carceral system and how it marginalizes people based on their class, race, age, sexuality, etc., we can draw connections between systems of oppression and how they intersect with issues of food injustice. 

The teens have also been developing a plan for their garden on the farm, dubbed the Oasis Garden. This garden will be focused on creating a beautiful and welcoming communal space on our urban farm for anyone to gather, connect and recharge. In the summer, we look forward to seeing striking color in our flowers and painted beds, more available seating, abundant, tasty snacks (provided by mother nature), and sensory gardens that engage folks of all ages.

On Thursdays, we’ve been in the kitchen with Bee Mayhew (our Kitchen Incubator Manager and amazing cook), learning to make different dough-based staple recipes. This series, lovingly titled “What Up Dough,” has the teens making different types of dough from scratch, such as focaccia, perogies, flatbread pizza, and homemade pita.