Youth Garden Project History
The Youth Garden Project began in March of 1996 with one program designed to offer youth with court-ordered community service hours an opportunity to serve their hours in an educational and nurturing environment. Founded by Sarah Heffron, the garden was in her backyard and served about a dozen youth in its first year.
Thanks to our partnerships and dedicated supporters, YGP has “grown” so much since we were founded! Today the Youth Garden Project sits on one and a half acres of land next to Grand County High School, serves around 1,000 youth each year across all age groups, and grows over 7,000 pounds of produce each season.
… And Now
Youth Garden Project
- Everybody belongs.
- Put relationships first – work to build community. Actively support your community.
- Be aware of who has power and why. Use yours to support others.
- Be honest to others and yourself.
- Take care of yourself so we can grow together.
- Be kind and brave. Lean into discomfort.
- Practice empathy. Walk in other peoples’ shoes.
- Words are powerful. Take responsibility for the way your words make people feel.
- It’s okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are opportunities to learn new things.
- Practice active listening. It’s a privilege to hear someone’s story.
YGP by the Numbers
Updated for 2020
624 K-6 graders participated in Garden Classroom Field Trips
96% of teachers believe Garden Classroom field trips provide high-quality experiential experiences that are important for student learning
70% of students claim that they tried a new fruit or vegetable on their Garden Classroom field trip
373 middle & high school students were served – YGP taught agriculture classes, workshops, and facilitated Seed Crew
9 whole weeks of COVID-conscious full-day Summer Camp serving 28 families
YGP awarded $3,710 in Summer Camp tuition assistance
Our talented Programs Instructors created 6 Virtual Garden Classrooms during the spring school shutdown. View them here!
1,004 – the number of local students we were able to serve through our programs in 2020!
YGP broke our record for produce donated in 2020, with nearly 20% of food distributed in the community going to our CareShare partners, a value of $2100
We grew food for 28 Community Supported Agriculture members May – October of 2020
CSA shares throughout the season included over 50 unique herbs, veggies, and other goodies
YGP engaged 95 volunteers in the garden, including 50 new volunteers and 9 youth volunteers
We hosted our first ever Online Plant Sale, which had over 350 sales
YGP organized 4 Garden Dinner events and one Mother’s Day Brunch Box fundraiser, all highlighting produce grown locally and seasonally
We hosted the Blue Ribbon Produce Exhibition in September, which received over 30 beautiful, fun, and unique produce & floral entries
Hear it from the community…
“Everything is fantastic. You guys produce a high quality product, enhance the community, are communicative and flexible, and make us all feel that we are a part of something beautiful and constructive.“ -CSA Shareholder
“My students LOVED the YGP field trip. Students loved how interactive it was, the games, getting to see the animals and taste the veggies. I really appreciated how thorough and kind the YGP teachers were.” – GC Elementary teacher
“I really like what YGP does and enjoy participating in, contributing to and benefiting from this community. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work in the gardens, which to me is more “playing in the dirt” (my true motivation!). I see the crops growing and being harvested, interact with the wonderful staff and interns, eavesdrop on the kids’ outdoor classes about companion plantings and symbiosis, for example. As a bonus I get to eat some of the bounty and this connection with my food is life-affirming.” -Garden Volunteer
…and from the kids!
“The Youth Garden is my favorite place!”
“You should call this the EARTH garden, because you’re taking care of the earth!”
“Thank you for making me like the tomatoes!”
“Can we have a moment of silence? It’s to listen to nature…”