Youth Seed Enterprise

In 2020, four YSE program sites and youth cohorts contributed over 8,000 pounds of nutrient dense organic produce to support food justice initiatives in communities facing food insecurity and economic constraints. 

Make a Donation

Get involved

Youth Seed Enterprise, also known as YSE, is an “earn while you learn” for youth ages 13-18 in Chester and Montgomery counties in PA.  Participants gain career preparation skills while increasing access to local, nutritious, and affordable food for themselves and their neighbors. Core features of the program are organic gardening, the creation of youth-led food enterprises, as well as an engaging curriculum that develops hard and soft skills to prepare youth for success in work and life. Teens who continue in the program for multiple years have opportunities to engage in a leadership track that can lead to internships or employment.

Impact

In 2020, four YSE program sites and youth cohorts contributed over 8,000 pounds of nutrient dense organic produce to support food justice initiatives in communities facing food insecurity and economic constraints.

2021 Program Offers

Springboard

Springboard – March to April – Springboard is a cohort of approximately 20 youth vying for placement within Trellis’ Youth Leadership Track.  Youth set personal goals for themselves,  while sharpening their understanding of peer leadership, and help Trellis staff to plan the summer program. The program is 1-2 times a week (after school and some Saturday mornings) for 8 weeks.

YSE Summer

YSE Summer – June to August – The YSE Summer program is two full days a week and takes place across four sites. Main components of the summer program include:

  • Organic gardening, nutrition, and food justice
  • Establishing youth-led food distribution enterprises
  • Classes and presentations on systems thinking and systems change
  • Leadership development, goal setting, and career preparation
  • Connections to local business people
YSE Launch
YSE Launch– September to October – the YSE Launch program is similar to the Springboard program but is focused on the entrepreneurship side of YSE, concentrating on culinary skills and value-added product development.  The program is 1-2 times a week (after school and some Saturday mornings) for 8 weeks.

*Scheduling is contingent upon sufficient enrollment per site.

Sign up through our online application today!

Program Sites

Because of the localized focus of our work, priority is given to youth applicants from the communities surrounding the garden sites.  YSE currently operates gardens in four locations:

Lower Pottsgrove

Rolling Hills Apartments garden is situated behind the Community Room in the former site of what used to be a community pool at 2120 Buchert Road, Pottsgrove, PA. For many years, youth from Rolling Hills were transported to participate in Trellis’ programming in Kimberton. In Spring 2020, we were able to collaboratively raise the funds to transform a fenced-in area, that had formerly been a community pool that had long been closed and filled in, into a twenty mounded bed garden whereby each row measures approximately four feet by twelve feet. In summer 2020, Trellis staff with the help of Better Tomorrows’ Social Service Coordinator began the inaugural cohort of YSE at Rolling Hills Community, amidst a global pandemic. With the assistance of Better Tomorrows’ staff and volunteers, youth grow and provide a steady stream of organic vegetables that can be directly distributed to Rolling Hills’ households at through the Community Room’s food pantry.  

Phoenixville

Fairview Village garden is located at 170 Persimmon Lane, Phoenixville, PA. This partnership at Fairview Village grew out of Trellis’ relationship with the Chester County Food Bank (CCFB). Several years ago, CCFB had partnered with the Housing Authority and Pennrose to install a community garden. In Spring 2020, Trellis formed a youth cohort to manage, maintain and enlarge the Fairview Village garden site. In Summer 2020, the teens more than doubled the size of the garden, which includes some plots that are designated for resident households.   

Pottstown

The Pottstown/Hobart’s Run garden is Trellis’ eldest YSE garden site partnership located in the heart of the Borough of Pottstown on the 700 block of Walnut Street. Initiated in 2018, the Pottstown YSE site is the product of a three year-long partnership between Trellis, The Hill School, and Hobart’s Run – an organization that serves as the community development and outreach arm of The Hill School. The garden includes approximately 20 raised beds (approximately four feet by eight feet each). Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Hobart’s Run welcomed the Trellis YSE cohort to enjoy full use of their classroom and kitchen space at 703 East High Street, Pottstown, PA.

Spring City

Parks Springs Apartments garden is located behind the Community Room at 1800 Park Springs Boulevard, Spring City, PA. Trellis and Park Springs have been partnering for over 15 years to recruit youth into Trellis’ programs. Many young residents have benefitted from this partnership over the years. In addition, what began as a small youth-run garden composed of a few beds has expanding into a large community garden that is managed and has been run by adolescents in Trellis YSE program for two years. In 2019, the Park Springs Apartment garden grew to a space that includes approximately 16 large, mounded rows, equivalent to 45 standard raised beds. The partnership allows young residents and those residing outside Park Springs to actively address the issue of community food insecurity in the immediate neighborhood and gain valuable 21st century skills.

For more information contact

Grace Hardy
Program Manager

To apply online

Submit application online

Spring/Summer 2020 Highlights!

For more information on our COVID-19 response, click here