Youth Growing Organics in Worcester, or YouthGROW, is an urban agriculture-focused youth development and employment program for low-income teens.
YouthGROW employs 32-40 low income high school teens (age 14-18) year-round who gain leadership and jobs skills as they maintain two urban organic farms.
YouthGROWers complete a curriculum focused on Professional Development, Leadership Skills, Urban Agriculture, and Social Justice (PLUS,) through participation in the 8-week summer session, monthly workshops, internships, and community service.
The YouthGROW Model
All decisions within YouthGROW are made using a consensus process which ensures that youth ideas and opinions are given real value in the decision-making process and that participants craft decisions that all can agree with.
Each year 7 returning teens are selected as Youth Leaders and 4 teens with at least 2 years of program experience are given junior staff positions. These Youth Leaders and junior staff attend weekly meetings with adult staff before and after the intensive 8-week summer training program to plan the curriculum and activities. The YouthGROW project is a model of participant-led design and implementation that has been shared at regional and national conferences.