Youth and Family Services receives sustainability award for Garden Education Project

The Early evening news on KOTA Territory TV
Published: Dec. 3, 2022 at 11:25 AM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Youth and Family Services’ Garden Education Project aims to provide access for youth and families enrolled in YFS to learn where their food comes from. This year the organization is being honored with an award from The Rapid City Standing Committee on Sustainability.

“We wanted to prevent childhood obesity and increase children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables and nutritious foods so we started the garden program,” says Sharon Oney, supervisor of The Garden Project

Youth and Family Services created the Garden Education Project in 2014 with a vision that children and their families would become active within the community by learning about their local food systems.

Food is a basic human need, and with that comes the opportunity to create a community. This program recognizes teaching about sustainable food options can lead to better physical, emotional, and mental health for children in the community.

“We can teach children about gardening and healthy foods and have them growing their own in this greenhouse. All of our facilities in Rapid City have raised bed gardens that kids can plant and tend and work in. The thing we’ve noticed about working with children is that if they’ve been involved with growing and preparing it, they will eat it,” she continues.

The Rapid City Standing Committee on Sustainability seeks to encourage education in sustainability. Youth and Family Services receives this award with their Garden Education Project because of their direct contribution to kitchens in the community.

“The food that we grow, fruits and vegetables, the produce goes to our kitchens which then the food is fed to children in our programs. If we have extra, we put it out on a table with recipes for families to pick up and take home,” said Oney.

With the help of grants and partnerships throughout the community, Youth and Family Services hopes to continue the Garden Education Project.