Teens learn to grow their own food

HARRINGTON — Last month at Narraguagus Junior/Senior High School, seven teens, assisted by teachers and community volunteers, were hard at work building a new garden on a corner of the campus. The effort was part of Teen Ag week. The six-day program was a collaborative effort between Healthy Acadia and Narraguagus’s Future Farmers of America chapter and their Food Justice League.

Volunteers tilled 1,600 square feet of vegetable garden to create the Mary Endre Memorial Garden in memory of a teacher at the school who passed away last fall from cancer.

As part of the program, Healthy Acadia’s Maine SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator Sara McConnell offered daily Cooking Matters classes during which youth prepared their own healthy lunches. Field trips to Incredible Edible Milbridge community gardens, Folklore Farm and the Maine Seacoast Mission’s food pantry as well as a visit by Maine Outdoor School rounded out the week.

“With the building of this garden, the students have created the largest classroom in the school — a place where hands-on learning about how to grow food, how our community is fed and how they can make a difference — can happen during the growing season,” said Regina Grabrovac, Healthy Acadia food programs manager in Washington County and co-facilitator of the program. “Our week was full of opportunities for the youth to discuss food systems in our community and make decisions about what they can do right now to build positive change.”

The students’ final project was a community meal served to 60 people at the Downeast Table of Plenty, a weekly community meal hosted by the Maine Seacoast Mission.

Future plans for the Narraguagus campus include the addition of a greenhouse in order to extend the growing season. During the school year, the Food Justice League and Future Farmers of America chapter of Narraguagus High School meet weekly. All students are welcome to participate.

For more information about Teen Ag week, contact Regina Grabrovac at 255-3741 or email [email protected]

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