A Vegetable Garden Teaches Girls In Residential Care About Self Sufficiency and Teamwork

“Girls In Residential Care Learn Teamwork and Self Sufficiency In A Vegetable Garden”

LAND to Learn (“LTL”), the Felix Organization, and the Young Women’s Leadership Academy at St. Christopher’s Inc., have formed a partnership in which girls in residential care will build, learn, and work in a new garden on St. Christopher’s New Windsor campus. Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming has generously donated the planting boxes, compost, seedlings, and seeds to help get this project started. 

When COVID disrupted their annual summer camp for foster children, the staff at The Felix Organization came up with the idea of creating a garden on St. Christopher’s residential campus, to bring recreation and education to the girls there.  They knew of Land to Learn’s reputation as garden educators and gave them a call.

Land to Learn is providing a summer-long garden education program to teen girls in residential care at St. Christopher’s Inc. in New Windsor, NY. The teens are part of the organization’s Young Women’s Leadership Academy. The youth participants are co-creating the garden at the campus where they live with Land to Learn educators. The teens have been engaged in building the garden, mapping out the planting plan, caring for the crops, and are excited to beautify the space and cook with the harvest. They are taking ownership of, and joy in, working in their new garden as they develop valuable food-growing and teamwork skills.

Hans Hageman, the African-American executive director of LtL, said: “Now, more than ever, we need to develop our young people’s connection to nature. They must learn where their food comes from and take control of how they eat. This garden will teach them lessons in self-sufficiency and support their mental health. I dream that one day they will see themselves as stewards of the land. Growing up surrounded by Harlem’s concrete, my parents made sure I remembered Malcolm X’s quote that ‘Land is the basis of all independence.’”

Land to Learn’s mission is to grow a movement for food justice and community wellness through garden-based education. They partner with 11 elementary schools across four districts in the Hudson Valley for an in-school program, engage students in running after-school farm stands, provide local teens with jobs and leadership training through a summer apprenticeship program. They also run a vegetable gardening program at a maximum-security prison for teen boys. LtL has been adapting its services and expanding its work to meet community needs under the new circumstances created by the pandemic. 

St. Christopher’s provides “a holistic, strength-based approach that addresses trauma, mental illness, substance abuse, educational, vocational and independent living needs.”

The Felix Organization was founded in 2006 by Rock ’n Roll Hall of Famer, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and Emmy Award-winning casting director, Sheila Jaffe. Both adopted and grateful to have been “taken home”, they were compelled to use their resources and experience to enrich the lives of children growing up in the foster care system.

For media inquiries contact: Hans Hageman, Executive Director of Land to Learn – hans@landtolearn.org, 646-472-9769

Notes

  • Land to Learn is a 501(c)(3) founded in 2015
  • Hans Hageman was presented with the Robin Hood Foundation’s Hero Award by John Kennedy, Jr. for his founding of an award-winning independent middle school in Harlem.

Media Contact
Company Name: Land to Learn
Contact Person: Hans Hageman
Email: Send Email
Phone: 646-472-9769
Address:380 Main Street
City: Beacon
State: New York
Country: United States
Website: www.landtolearn.org