Q&A with Will Conklin, Greenagers

January 2, 2017

Who does your organization serve and how do they get involved?

Greenagers serves local youth aged 12-24 in Berkshire and Columbia counties, MA. Youth come to Greenagers through public and private schools, home-school networks, youth networks and parent networks. Typically they are interested in an outdoor job and looking for a way to develop skills in conservation and/or agriculture.

 

 

Does the food system look different as a result of your work? How? 

Our Front Lawn Food program installs raised bed vegetable gardens for families right at their homes. For those that can afford it, we sell them the bed. Built into the cost are funds to install a bed for an underserved local family. We work with local antipoverty and family service agencies to identify families for the donated gardens. To date we have installed gardens for approximately 75 families in addition to installing or renovating community gardens for 7 local schools and community organizations.

 

These gardens serve to increase food security and engage the young people of the families in food production. Additionally, our teen work crews typically spend 2-4 days of their summer work schedule installing these gardens.

 

What do you like best about your job?

The best thing about my job is seeing young people walk away from a summer of farm or trail work with increased skills and confidence due to their time working on a crew or with a farmer. Even better is welcoming them back for a second or third year and seeing these skills develop, mature, and trickle down to their younger peers. These are skills that will connect them with the land for a lifetime.

 

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