Learn It Grow It Eat It
Learn It Grow It Eat It (LGE) is a youth driven program that involves South Bronx high school students in all aspects of the local food movement in NYC. The teens work in local community gardens growing fruits and vegetables, run a weekly Youthmarket farm stand, and teach children and adults through interactive activities and cooking demonstrations about healthy eating. They learn for themselves and then teach others in their community about the relationship between food, health, their community, and the environment. They reach thousands of children and adults each year in schools, community gardens, farmers’ markets, health fairs, public libraries, and health facilities.
LGE increases food access in a low-income neighborhood (Morrisania), educates youth and adults on how to read food labels and distinguish between natural and processed foods, how to cook with fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, and how to grow plants and care for a garden/urban farm, all with an emphasis on promoting the growth and development of our participating 200 teens.
During the school year we work with four high schools providing weekly programming and working with additional students through school-sponsored internships. From this pool of students, we interview and hire 15 interns for our six-week paid summer internship. Additionally, throughout the year we employ graduates of our summer program in special projects such as spring garden startups, running workshops at health fairs, and targeted outreach such as hospital waiting rooms.
LGE helps them to develop social and communication skills in preparation for college and/or the job market. Many graduates from our summer internship have gone on to work with GrowNYC part-time, conducting outreach, teaching the next generation of LGE participants, maintaining community gardens, and running our
Youthmarket. Reaching beyond our LGE teens, the larger community benefits from increased food access and education around healthy lifestyle choices and opportunities.
By training the next generation of environmental and civic leaders, we will create a stronger, healthier city in which to live. A majority of teens report that the program has helped them to overcome shyness, develop a good work ethic, learn to interact with different age groups and cultural groups, become public speakers, and learn the value of good work, and we consider that a big success.
Read the Daily News article “Health on the Menu” [PDF]
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