Tallahassee Food Network’s (TFN) youth-focused group, iGrow, opened a new garden on Friday to help inner city children learn the importance of agriculture and leadership.
iGrow “What You Like,” is a South City youth empowerment and agricultural program run solely by the youth of the program.
iGrow aims to involve youth by creating community-based food systems. From planting, tending, harvesting and selling their produce to teaching others about inner city agriculture.
The newest garden located at 501 E. Orange Ave., signified a new place of growth, physically and mentally, for students in the urban community.
Miaisha Mitchell, a member of the board of directors for the TFN and iGrow, talked about the importance of having an environmentally friendly classroom.
“iGrow promotes healthy access to food and leadership development. We want to make sure the children are eating well and learning good skills to become young entrepreneurs,” said Mitchell. “We find that if you put them in the Earth, they will learn as they grow. We have an outdoor classroom. We are able to teach all the math, science, English and poetry in the garden.”
Along with teaching students many valuable lessons, they allow them to learn for themselves by getting hands on experience with nature.
Site manager, Prakaśaka X, described the garden as influential far beyond its physical aspects.
“It doesn’t matter if someone is out here trying to influence them [students] in this way or that way, being in nature itself means they are already fulfilling their needs,” X said. “We acknowledge that a little bit goes a long way. They do not know what life is until they come into this space and when you come to this space you began to know yourself completely.”
Finding a balance is a goal that the program hopes to instill in its participants.
Atum Boukman, medical student at Florida State University, said iGrow inspires students to be better.
“iGrow inspires consciousness on who we are and what we need, and that’s food,” said Boukman. “Mentally, physically and spiritually to find our balance. This is the crust of what iGrow is, it helps to identify and bring consciousness that we need.”
The students garden every Tuesday and Friday from 3:30-5:30 p.m. and on Saturday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. they sell their produce at the Frenchtown Market.
If you are interested in growing a garden, visit tallahasseefoodnetwork.org.