“In addition to the fun and educational outdoor gardening programs we are running now, I’m excited about the opportunity these hydroponic gardens offer for Clubs to have access to gardening programs year-round. This is a really cool opportunity for our members to dive deeper into STEM topics and environmental justice.”
—Gabrielle Witham, Director of Healthy Lifestyles, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston
At Josh Kraft Mattapan Teen Center, teens are using the ingredients they grow to prepare meals as part of the Club’s “Good Eats & Environmental Justice Club.” In the program, teens learn how healthy foods can become more accessible, and also how they can make their own healthy meals. All leftover produce gets delivered to the local community fridge.
Gerald and Darlene Jordan Club has embarked on “growing a salad” and harvesting all of the fresh ingredients they would want to have as part of their own meal, include rainbow swiss chard, romaine, blue kale, and spinach. Then, members can enjoy the fruits of their labor as part of the dinners they are served in the evening.
“Our members who claimed to not like vegetables come into the cafeteria and are literally dancing around this garden,” explains Tracey Marchetti, Gerald and Darlene Jordan Club’s Culinary Director. “There is so much excitement around how good the vegetables taste that we are growing in our hydroponic garden.”
Edgerley Family South Boston Club plans to share its harvest of lettuce, kale, herbs, green beans, sugar peas, strawberries, and tomatoes with family passing through its entrance, and use any leftovers in Club dinners. Charlestown Club staff has been making their own salads with the lettuce they have grown in their hydroponic garden, and have a lot of fun picking it themselves. Yawkey Club of Roxbury plans to use the vertical gardens for observation projects, and then share everything it grows with its kitchen to make delicious salads and smoothies.
“In addition to the fun and educational outdoor gardening programs we are running now, I’m excited about the opportunity these hydroponic gardens offer for Clubs to have access to gardening programs year-round,” explained Witham. “This is a really cool opportunity for our members to dive deeper into STEM topics and environmental justice.”