Mural Arts Guild
PUC is working with the Mural Arts Guild to provide 20 young men re-entering society with meaningful skills training . These young men participate each monday and wednesday as extensions of our Development Team, led by our Site & Development Manager Devon Bailey, helping us build green houses, rain catchment systems, and raised beds on our various farms/gardens. Through participation in the development of our program, we are empowering these young men with the tools to pursue jobs in a variety of new markets, as well as become pioneers of change in their own communities.
The partnership between Sankofa and PUC happened very organically. Organizers Brother Fuahz and Jeaninne met at a local open mic. They shared ideas and decided that the forces they both work with should combine. Sankofa is a rights of passage program operating in 8 high schools in North Philadelphia. The program is specifically targeted for young African American and Afro Latino men as a way of connecting them more deeply to their roots and empowering them to become young leaders. It teaches that in order to become a man, according to African tradition, there is much knowledge to gain. Some of the Sankofa courses include African drumming, spoken word, and various ancient martial arts. Upon the partnership with PUC we are now trying to work on land cultivation as an addition to their courses.
During the summer, Sankofa devoted a generous amount of volunteer time to PUC as apart of their summer program. And in October, we were fortunate enough to host their opening ceremonies at our farm. The ceremony consisted of over 200 young men from the 8 schools affiliated with the program, as well as staff and school district officials. These groups collectively performed their mantra, and spent the day rotating between different orientation stations which included drumming circles, self expression and spoken word, and PUC’s own cultivation workshop where we discussed the importance of harvesting our own food as a way of connecting to our roots and harvesting ourselves and our communities.
It was very inspiring for PUC to witness and host this special occasion. The relationship between us has a strong foundation and lots of room for growth into the future.
PUC works with the cities Re-Integration Services for Ex-Offenders program. We host groups of the RISE ex-offenders at our farm as apart of the community service componant of their re-entry program, but also provide them with basic “green-job training” so that they leave our program with skills in urban aggriculture, landscape transformation, community organizing, small business managment, environmentally conscious waste management and sustainble design.
This year we had the honor of establishing a partnership with the GrassRoots foundation, an organization that focuses on teaching nutrition and mental wellness to young women of color in inner-city communities across the nation. The organization was founded by Dr. Janice Dias and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter from The Legendary Roots crew.
For our first collaboration, we were asked to cater a community event and fundraiser hosted by the GrassRoots Foundation, where we served fresh and healthy snacks to the patrons of their Fundraiser. In the morning, we participated in a community meeting with the GrassRoots staff, Tariq, Mayor Nutter, the C.H.I.C.K.S. program, and other organizers and representatives from throughout the city, and at night attended an awesome concert and dance party with legendary performers from Philadelphia including Dj Rich Medina , Dj Diamond Kuts, and Quest Love and Black thought from the Roots. At both events, we served our very own Salsa made from produce from the farm, along with Hummus made by the students in the Fairhill Cooking class and Quiche made by students in A.P. Randolph’s Culinary program.
This was a great opportunity to network and market our project to an entirely new community filled with musicians, doctors, activists, organizers, and people of all professions. The event was a great success and we got lots of fees back and encouragement from so many adults. It was an amazing day, and the start to what we hope to be a long lasting partnership with the GrassRoots Foundation. We hope to provide their C.H.I.C.K.S program with our food and teach them how to bring a community garden to their school, and help youth throughout Philadelphia learn the importance of maintaining a healthy life style while empowering them with the tools and resources to create these healthy environments for themselves and their communities.
Education Works & Heartranft’s After School Program: Every wednesday afternoon, students from Education Work’s after school program at Heartranft middle school (our neighborhood public school) have joined us at the farm. They have been a huge help as we have transitioned into spring, and we have trained these students to be expert composters, recyclers, seed and seedling planters, and even young community organizers. As a result of this blossoming partnership, these students are now applying all that they have learned with us to their own school campus where they are now managing their own garden!
North East Treatment Centers
PUC is working with the North East Treatment Center to provide 20 teenagers who are in our juvenile justice system with meaningful skills training . These young men and women participate with us each saturday, helping us build structures, turn compost, plant seeds, and harvest produce on our various farms/gardens. Through participation in the development of our program, we are empowering these young men and women with the tools to pursue jobs in a variety of new markets, as well as become pioneers of change in their own communities.
Philadelphia Youth In Service
PUC has been working with the Philadelphia Youth In Service program to provide teenagers in our juvenile justice system with meaningful skills training. This program is a being Piloted by the Mayors Office of Civic Engagement and PAYAP as a new and innovative approach to engage these young men and women in meaningful service experiences in their own communities. By engaging in the development of our program, we are empowering these young men and women with the tools to pursue jobs in a variety of new markets, as well as become pioneers of change in their own communities.