This spring, we launched our 2018 Urban Farming Internship program welcoming some new and familiar faces to theWesley Colbert Zion Street Community Garden in Hartford’s vibrant Frog Hollow neighborhood. Our first workshop session was held at Sea Tea Improv Studios for our Voices of Hartford workshop series which runs every Friday from April – June. As we anticipate a busy and bountiful summer lets recap on last year’s program’s highlights and accomplishments!
Our 2017 Urban Farming Internship proved that our program gets better and better. From the months of April to October we gave the garden a makeover and saw many new and familiar faces. Now that our garden is in full bloom and our 2018 interns are hard at work, we’d like to take a moment to give you a brief summary of what we were up to last year.
Our 2017 program included some new workshops for our interns and community members in partnership with Center for Latino Progress, Billings Forge Community Works, and COMPASS Peacebuilders, Grow Hartford Youth Program at the Hartford Food System. YouMedia, and Sea Tea Improv Studios.
At the Center for Latino Progress we saw the inner workings of the organization’s programming. After learning about the center’s ESL and job training program our interns got a tour of Hartford’s one and only bike cooperative, Bici Co. The shop’s manager, Joseph Dickerson, gave a brief history of Hartford’s transportation infrastructure then showed us how to fix a tire.
At another one of our weekly Friday workshops, we did improv with the folks at Sea Tea Improv Theater. Our interns learned new ways on how to work together patiently and humorously! Though this was our first lesson, we are no strangers to improvising due to our tight budget!
In late summer, Summer of Solutions went on an oceanography trip with Project O in Groton, CT thanks to the Farmington River Watershed Association. In partnership with The Grow Hartford Youth Program, we learned about our marine ecosystem and coastal habitat.
Program Coordinators Sonsharae and Tenaya went to Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working group with funding from New England GrassRoots Fund and made lasting connections with organizations doing similar work in the region. At the conference, some of their learning highlights were about race and equity in food systems organizing, social enterprises started by youth and PoC, and how to create a positive narrative around communities that face food insecurity.
After graduating from our 2017 Urban Farming Internship program our interns were equipped with the skills and knowledge to address things like racial oppression, food apartheid, public speaking, bike repair, improving school lunches, and peer mediation. We could not have done it without thoughtful and meaningful collaboration with other organizations in the city that focus on the empowerment and wellness of younger individuals.
Last but not least Summer of Solutions successfully launched a campaign with Seed Money and raised $600 within a matter of hours! This made us eligible for a $400 Challenge Grant! We couldn’t have done it without you.
Stay tuned for our upcoming events and workshops on our Facebook page . We look forward to seeing what this year’s program will bring!