Norris Square Neighborhood Project’s Youth Programming and Education
Beyond urban gardening, Norris Square Neighborhood Project offers education programs to teach youth about sustainability, social justice, and more.
Norris Square Neighborhood Profit (NSNP) is a non-profit organization in the Norris Square neighborhood in North Philadelphia giving community residents and youth a place to “explore culture and social-justice issues, create art, and develop their sustainable-agriculture skills” through gardening. NSNP offers two different youth programs to not only teach youth about how technology, arts, and gardening can have a meaningful impact on your future, but how to be more sustainable.
NSNP’s Semillas del Futuro (Seeds of the Future) program is a work ready program for community youth to explore different interests, including gardening. This program happens during both the summer and the school year. This past summer, the gardening section taught the youth about potential jobs in horticulture, how to design an urban garden, and provided an opportunity for the youth to work directly in the gardens. For youth growing up in the city, this program is a unique experience for them to understand sustainable lifestyles through urban gardening first hand through applied practice.
While the Semillas del Futuro program includes aspects of sustainable education, NSNP’s Raíces de Cambio (Roots of Change) is centered around it. The Raíces program is “an urban-agriculture and food-justice paid apprenticeship program for youth ages 14 – 20 years old.” This allows youth to understand sustainability through practicing agriculture in urban settings. One part of this sustainable education is understanding the role of culture in food production and food justice. NSNP’s and their gardens are in a proud Puerto Rican neighborhood, so the design of each of the gardens is meant to represent a different aspect of Puerto Rico history and culture. The youth learn about food justice, gardening, and healthy eating, which are all a part of sustainable lifestyles. After participating in a variety of lessons, the Raíces youth go to the gardens to plant, maintain, and harvest the food and herbs.
Norris Square Neighborhood Project offers several programs and educational opportunities for youth to learn about sustainable lifestyles and development and more. The Semillas del Futuro program provides kids basic sustainable education in regards to urban agriculture. Meanwhile, youth who want to focus solely on urban-agriculture and sustainability can participate in the Raíces de Cambio program. Both of these programs contribute to sustainable education on a tangible, local scale for youth.