The Garden 'n Grow Program
The Missouri Garden 'n Grow Program is a summer volunteer gardening program developed for 9 to 13- year-old youths. In the program, youths learn not only vegetable gardening, but also "cultivate" other science, math, and language arts skills and have fun! The goals of the Garden 'n Grow Program are to experience the fun of gardening, to enjoy a feeling of success, and to have the satisfaction of sharing harvested food with others in need. Vegetables harvested from the gardens are for home use and donations to local food agencies.
Guided by adult volunteers, development of the whole child is emphasized as well as team building as they garden with a partner. Adult leaders use cooperative teaching skills to educate youth about seeds, transplants, garden planning and design, site preparation, soils, plant growth and development, costs of production, garden pests, plant health care, human nutrition, food value, food needs in the local community, and horticultural career opportunities. Each adult volunteer is trained by a University of Missouri Extension Specialist. A Garden 'n Grow Leader handbook, including lesson plans, and Garden 'n Grow notebooks for youth are provided.
Garden 'n Grow Programs meet twice per week for hour and a half sessions to discuss educational subjects and to cultivate their gardens. Although the Garden 'n Grow Program is designed as a 10-week summer program, enthusiastic gardeners often tend their garden plot until frost.