August 15, 2016
The Big Garden just finished its 10-week summer summer garden program. The Grow-Your-Own program provides on-site gardening classes for primarily low-income children and youth at 26 locations across the Omaha-metro, reaching more than 600 children each week. This service is provided free-of-cost to schools, childcare centers, and other non-profit organizations participating in the Big Garden network, and classes are led by teams of paid Big Garden summer interns. The interns were led by Education Coordinator Cait Caughey, and Education Assistants Mary Hanten and Kay Wilwerding.
The children participating in the Grow-Your-Own program range in age from 2-18, and they learn skills needed to grow, tend, harvest, cook, and preserve their own food. The goal is to reduce hunger by increasing access to fresh, healthy produce. The Big Garden’s proprietary curriculum, covers healthy soil, pollinators, companion planting, the food chain, local foods & markets, food preservation, harvesting, seed saving, and more.
This year's interns included Sally Moore, Lela Tunnell, Anna Stark, Mackenzie Shreve, Gabe Kreifels, Haley Ourada, and Michaela Wolf. Sharing her hopes at the outset of the summer, Haley said, "This experience will not only allow me to increase the food security of my community, but it will also help me to establish skills that will help me excel in my career field." Michaela said, "I am excited to have a job where I care so much about the work that we are doing. That is really important to me."