Growing Justice

Growing Justice

Growing Justice is a year-round sustainable urban farming initiative and paid internship that annually builds a dynamic team of approximately 30 high-school-aged youth from Flushing and Corona – the Growing Justice Squad – who gain skills in three key areas: sustainable agriculture/urban farming, youth leadership, and workforce readiness, and in turn, reach thousands of peers and community members through food production and distribution, peer education workshops and activities on food justice and nutrition, and advocacy on food policy, economic justice, and sustainability. This program taps into Queens Botanical Garden’s unique assets, including our one-acre QBG Farm and professional sustainable agriculture experience.

Through Growing Justice, Queens Botanical Garden strives to address two major challenges that are present and persistent in our community: the rampant crisis of food insecurity and related need for sustainability in urban settings; and the lack of relevant youth-driven leadership and workforce readiness programming in local underserved communities. The program launched in fall 2023.

By equipping participants with the skills to grow their own nutritious food through the Program’s hands-on elements, as well as inviting participants to critically examine food policies that affect their community through the program’s curriculum, Growing Justice enfranchises young people in Flushing and Corona to become advocates and leaders against the persistent issue of food insecurity in and beyond their neighborhoods. This Program combats the disconnection many urban youth feel from their food supply and links them to the growing urban agriculture movement. It affirms indigenous and immigrant knowledge and reinforces the backgrounds and experience of many of the immigrant communities who reside in our target neighborhoods, while sharing QBG’s own expertise.

Activities include weekly workshops held at Queens Botanical Garden after school, on weekends, and/or on school breaks on such topics as environmental sustainability, sustainable agriculture and agricultural sciences, health and nutrition, food justice, native plants and pollinators, indigenous farming practices, composting, permaculture, and more. Squad Members also explore the connections between climate change and food insecurity, run QBG’s weekend Farm Stand, present to the public through engagements at QBG’s public programs, and meet with local elected officials to advocate for food justice-related issues in their neighborhoods.

Growing Justice is funded by the New York Community Trust with additional support from the Pinkerton Foundation.

For more information on this program, please email [email protected].

For press inquiries or information on how to support Growing Justice, please email [email protected].