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Roots & Wings Youth

By Donovin Lewis, Debora St.Fluerose & Ketura St.Fleurose

During the summer of 2015 there was an adventure quest to the City of Dubuque 1st Annual Sustainability Fair. The adventurers included three Youth Apprentices…

Helloooo?  Spring?  Are you there, Spring? ...Anyone?  Oh!  There you are!  Don’t EVER scare me like that again!  We were SO WORRIED about you.  We at Roots & Wings are ready to get outdoors and make something good come out of our small piece of Earth.  

We planted our new apple, pear, plum and cherry trees, and we see the garlic popping up that we put in last fall.  Ms Janice has been flyering...

The Rockford Urban Initiative announces its 2015 Cares & Shares CSA program, coordinated by our committed Youth Leaders! Our 10-week summer share provides you with clean, healthy, dazzling vegetables (and sometimes melons!) every Wednesday, all of which is grown, harvested, and packed by Rockford youth.

Blue Cross Blue Shield, Angelic Organics, Roots and Wings, Blackhawk Courts, urban agriculture, award

We are grateful to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) for awarding a $15,000 Healthy Kids, Healthy Families grant to support the Roots & Wings Urban Agriculture and Youth Development Program. The Roots & Wings network builds leadership, job skills and community through farming in the city of Rockford. Angelic Organics Learning Center coordinates the Roots & Wings network together with Rockford youth, their families, neighbors, and support organizations.

"Giving back to help our communities is...

As the summer comes to an end I asked the Youth leaders and young adults from the Blackhawk Courts community to reflect on some of their experiences over this summer with the Roots & Wings program. Here is what they had to say:

Milca St. Fleurose (Age 16, Youth Leader Apprentice) 

"One experience that I’ve had through the Roots & Wings program this summer is going out to Pecatonica IL, and seeing Andy Hazzard’s farm. I have a love for nature so seeing all the green fields and feeling the fresh summer breeze makes me happy, as well as...

Roots & Wings, Urban Agriculture, Urban Farm, Urban Garden, Youth Leader, Angelic Organics Learning Center

As we quickly approach the beginning of the June, I am reminded that only few weeks ago we had an accumulation snow on the ground (Brrrrr….). Over the last few months much work has been done at the Roots & Wings Youth Farm and the Blackhawk Courts Farm and Garden in preparation for the growing season.

Last month, Roots & Wings Youth Leaders met with Beloit College students and Vandana Shiva at Beloit College. The Youth Leaders presented information about youth-led urban agriculture to the college students and then participated in a round-table discussion with esteemed activist, Dr. Vandana Shiva. See what the Youth Leaders thought about the experience.

We’ve all changed just a little bit in the off-season, and grown outward, upward, or inwardly. Youth Leaders and apprentices who were, before, slightly tentative, have stepped forward with a fresh confidence and focus. Younger youth, like Kijuan, have started to craft their special, unique-snowflake selves and shown us how they can be a valuable part of the team.

This year in Rockford we expanded the farm operation at Blackhawk Courts Farm and Garden significantly, increasing both productivity and community activity.  As the season winds down, we will soon enter a planning and visioning process with Blackhawk leadership to collectively envision the future of the farm. 

Danica Hoehn
Program Director, Roots & Wings Network

 

We cooked together in the rain last Wednesday at Blackhawk Courts Farm & Gardens in Rockford, IL. Folks ran home
from the outdoor cooking session & came back donning big umbrellas to shelter the cooks as they roasted green
tomatoes, garlic, green onions, & all kinds of peppers on the three burner propane stove.

The plan: transform simple garden fresh ingredients into salsa, then salsa to chili chilaquiles, and then salsa to soup.
Ambitious & just like personal transformation, it was messy and mysterious. The final...

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