Youth Seed Enterprise
YSE is an opportunity for youth ages 13-18 to sharpen their leadership, communication, and work skills through learning to manage an organic garden and delivering healthy and nutritious produce to surrounding communities.
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Trellis for Tomorrow’s Youth Seed Enterprise (YSE) is an “earn while you learn” program that challenges youth participants and their communities to think, interact, and grow in new ways.
This high-impact summer program offers youth participants ages 13-18 meaningful opportunities to build work-related skills while learning to manage organic gardens, engage in relationships and activities that enhance their social and emotional capacity, develop new understandings, and participate in the creation of youth-led enterprises that increase access to local, nutritious, and affordable food.
“This program improved my social skills and gave me a chance to meet new people while learning how to positively benefit the community!”
– YSE Participant
A dynamic combination of hands-on work, engaging classroom sessions, and transformative activities.
Youth participants gather in organic gardens established by Trellis within their own neighborhoods and communities, where they learn to grow, harvest, and distribute produce to others.
Engaging Classroom Sessions
Take place daily and feature Trellis’ compelling “systems change” curriculum, which present participants with a space to explore, discuss, and discover new ways of thinking about themselves, their world, and their power to affect meaningful change.
Trellis staff work to identify, develop, and lead engaging activities for youth participants which sharpen their skills, build their capacities, and create opportunities to practice what they are learning.
The interplay between the hands-on, real-time application of knowledge and Trellis’ interactive, exciting curriculum creates a significant and transformative experience for YSE participants. Teens participating in YSE broaden their understanding of the world while gaining powerful skills that increase their educational and post-educational success.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Program Offers 2022
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 – 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
*Scheduling is contingent upon sufficient enrollment per site.
Sign up through our online application today!
Youth on the
“My favorite part of the program is being part of a great group that helps to increase our skills and accomplish our goals.”
– YSE Participant
“In our afternoon sessions, we talked about food justice but also our own health. You have to start with yourself before you help other people.”
– YSE Participant