Roots & Wings Youth Leadership and Gardening Program
AOLC leads Roots & Wings, a network of community-based organizations committed to community and youth development through urban agriculture in Rockford, IL.
In Rockford, Roots & Wings youth gardens are growing organic vegetables and motivating, educating, and inspiring youth and adults to be leaders and role models in their communities. Since our first garden broke ground in 2002, we have sprouted five gardens with neighborhood community organizations.
Roots & Wings encourages at-risk youth to become leaders, with teens helping teach younger kids about gardening and food. Youth leaders market their produce through the summer, earning money, job skills, and public speaking experience. Youth work together on community-wide projects, and experienced youth leaders have attended national and regional youth leadership and urban agriculture events.
In the past we have partered with community groups to develop gardens at Concord Commons, Camaraderie Arts/Fairgrounds Valley, Friends’ House, Northwest Community Center, Salvation Army Kilburn Community Center.
Youth work together to plan, plant, tend, harvest, cook, and sell vegetables from their gardens. Vegetables from the gardens inspire cooking projects from ranch dressing to chocolate beet cake. Youth learn how their food choices can help care for the earth and themselves. In the garden, we practice teamwork and learn to solve problems peacefully. Through art projects and community celebrations, we welcome others to the garden and share what we are learning.
To invite the Roots & Wings youth leaders to speak to your organization or find out how your group can start a Roots & Wings garden, contact Danica Hoehn, Program Director, at 815.389.8455 or email@example.com.
Support Our Partner Farms in Rockford!
The Roots & Wings Youth Leaders and Eco-Advocates are now offering 10-week CSA shares of vegetables from June to August and a U-Pick from August to October. The vegetables are locally grown by Rockford youth at the Tinker Swiss Cottage and Gardens. Shares are priced on a sliding scale from $180 to $300.
The Youth Farm is a part of the Roots & Wings network coordinated by Angelic Organics Learning Center. Youth and young adults are growing organic vegetables and motivating, educating, and inspiring others to be leaders.
Vegetables will also be for sale at several market locations, including the Blackhawk Courts Farm Stand on 15th Avenue and Meadow Courts. Download our Youth Farm CSA Brochure below or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more and sign up!
A United Way Community Solutions Provider