This spring EAGLE Club youth from Mystic Learning Center in Somerville will be growing vegetables for the second year in the Mystic Community Garden with funds received from Katie’s Krops. With assistance from Eagle Eye and Mystic Learning Center staff, youth between the ages of 7 and 13 will prepare, seed, nurture and harvest vegetables, and donate the food to people in need.
Last winter Eagle Eye approached EAGLE Club youth with an opportunity to receive funding from Katie’s Krops – an organization that assists others to start and maintain vegetable gardens and donate the harvest to help feed people in need. Two youth from the Mystic Learning Center EAGLE Club, Darien Rodriguez and Sabiha Miahjee stepped forward and worked together to plan their project and fill out the grant application. They chose to call themselves the “Rainbow Growers” and started their own blog to record their efforts.
Darien and Sabiha enlisted fellow EAGLE Club members, Mystic Learning Center youth and adults from the Mystic Housing Projects to refurbish two abandoned garden plots. Sabiha says “I taught the kids what plants were weeds and could be pulled. And that tomato plants don’t grow well when you put water directly on the leaves.” With hard work, dedication and love, youth harvested a total of 52 pounds of produce. Youth gave out each pound of food at the Mystic Mobile Farmer’s Market and kept track of the donations. More than 50 families from the community received vegetables! Sabiha and Darien received a Commendation from Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone for improving community food access in Somerville.
This spring youth plan to make updates to the Mystic Community Garden greenhouse, use newly purchased tools to build additional raised beds and grow a larger variety of vegetables including collard greens, dinosaur kale, basil, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers. Darien and Sabiha look forward to involving more community members in the garden, donating more vegetables and keeping everyone updated on the Rainbow Growers blog. Darien exclaims, “Come check it out and help out!”