YouthGrow is a garden-based education and job training program for approximately 40 students annually, ages 15-21, enrolled in Seattle Public School’s Interagency Academy, and experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Operated by YouthCare, YouthGrow teaches the fundamentals of food production, sustainability, and gardening. Students are paid a stipend and earn school credit. Four 8-week cohorts are held annually. Students work 15-20 hours per week maintaining a large garden at the Interagency Academy in South Seattle. Students market and sell their produce at the Columbia City Farmer’s Market. Students learn the history of food production and environmental justice with emphasis on local, BIPOC-led food justice movements. With this funding, YouthGrow seeks to expand the program by adding an apprenticeship model elevating peer leaders within each cohort to receive additional training in business skills related to farming in order to advance their job prospects in this sector.
Senior Project Manager, Regional Food Systems Program
Mary coordinates the KCD Regional Food System Program, including Strategic Initiatives and Food System Grants, with the goals of making an enduring contribution toward strengthening King County’s food economy.