The Isles YouthBuild Garden
In 2010, a quarter acre garden was created adjacent to Isles Youth Institute as a way to engage the students through gardening. Students are taught practical agriculture skills in a hands-on way while exploring the concepts of community food security and food justice. Students and graduates work with Isles’ staff throughout the year to maintain the garden, and also assist at other community and school gardens as a way to participate more broadly in community stewardship.
In addition, students involved in the YouthGrow program take field trips to places such as the Philadelphia Flower Show, Longwood Gardens, Rutgers University Department of Landscape Architecture, Mercer County Community College’s greenhouse and horticulture program, and other local farms and commercial greenhouses.
As an extension of the agriculture program at Isles’ YouthBuild Institute, the Urban Harvest CSA (community supported agriculture)
was launched in 2011. The Urban Harvest CSA Project grows and distributes fresh and sustainably grown produce from June through November.
Customers of Urban Harvest receive a weekly bounty of the season’s harvest of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs. Profits made help support paid positions for students and graduates. In 2012, the CSA increased its number of subscribers from nine to thirteen, including five low-income families that receive shares subsidized by another partner non-profit.