Planting Seeds of all Sorts

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As a young woman of color in America, Cierra faces several challenges on a daily basis. Especially when it comes to economic security and education. Even though she is only in fourth grade, this harsh reality can be hard to ignore when the median household income in your neighborhood is less than $9000, less than 25% of your classmates are meeting expectations on standardized testing, and the nearest grocery store is more than two miles away. While these may not seem correlated, how can we expect someone to meet expectations for attaining education when basic nutritional needs are constantly ignored? Living in impoverished communities and especially food deserts like Barnum, where Cierra lives and goes to school, there always seems to be limited options. 

But that should not be the case, nor does it have to be. Women of color will soon make up more than 50% of the female population. If we do not prepare them with education and other training opportunities, we are perpetuating a disservice onto them and our communities as a whole. By providing innovative options for school programming, we not only diversify a child's education, but furthermore provide them with a shot at self-sufficiency if not social mobility. With our garden classrooms and Plant The Seed Project, we aim to do just that. Not only do we teach youth how to grow food but we give them the notion that they can be involved in the food system. This active involvement provides more than a mere introduction to urban agriculture, but the availibility to take ownership through development of a craft. Also by using tools, such as the microscopes, hydroponic towers, and vermiculture bins, we can help students such as Cierra develop a comfortability that they might not otherwise have with scientific instruments through first-hand exposure. 

To learn to appreciate the depth of knowledge you can obtain from a microscope and see a future in a lab, you must not only demonstrate proficiency but allow the students to get a feel for the precision of using the instrument themselves. We want them to go home feeling like they can contribute in a positive way to their community, not only this afternoon but for the forseeable future. Cierra and students like her, need to craft a new narrative about their communities. One that involves them and furthermore has them ushering the way toward a more sustainable future. They can only do so, if we provide them with the resources to.

That goes far beyond teaching them to grow their own food in different media, and showing them how to monitor for change. Which we recognize. We will need to empower them to feel as if they can make lasting changes. Cultivating a curiosity for an otherwise foreign topic, not only opens up their scope of knowledge but provides to opportunity to pursue what could be a potential passion or career path. With your help, we can steer Cierra and young girls of color throughout Denver towards agriculture, technology, or science in general