A community garden combined with recent stimulus money for a summer youth employment program has the potential to great a lasting impression on Kalamazoo urban agriculture. Basically, the stimulus package is guaranteeing the wages for hundreds of youth up to 24 years old; all they need is a place to work.
If we are to expand several more gardens this summer, we will need young people to staff them. These two programs have the potential to work in perfect symmetry. Not only will youth be employed, but it will be far more interesting and involved work that a typical summer job.
There are several other reasons why more gardens make sense in Kalamazoo:
- They give youths who would have no activities to not only have a productive focus but additionally get paid for their efforts
- They offer healthy fruits and vegetables and no cost to community resident
- They are a education tool to teach each other how to create their own garden
- They build relationships between different ages and backgrounds, and bring each other face-to-face in the community