Gardening program teaches youth gardening, business skills

The children who live at Hope Drive Apartments have had the opportunity in recent years to learn gardening and business skills

younger than most through the YEAH! Kids program.

YEAH! Kids was started by the former director of Community Food Initiatives, Ronda Clark, in conjunction with a summer feeding site

program at Athens Metropolitan Housing Authority’s Hope Drive Apartments, according to Mary Nally, CFI’s executive director. The

housing authority, a public housing agency for low-income individuals and families, funds the program.

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The YEAH! Kids program teaches the children gardening, culinary and business skills. Bringing their food to the farmers market is

the final stage.

YEAH (Youth Entrepreneurs at Hope) allows any child age 11-17 who lives at Hope Drive Apartments to join. They currently have nine

members: Jonathan Beaman, Taylor Milner, Asia McKenzie, Kira Tant, Dakota McKenzie, Ishmael Brown, Dakota Henderson, Heidi

Henderson and Khristian Taylor Hopkins.

Avery Tucker, the coordinator for YEAH! Kids and a summer intern with Community Food Initiatives said that the goal of YEAH! Kids

is “learning some basic skills that would facilitate in getting a job.”

“I wish I had had this opportunity as a kid,” Tucker said. He said that the program helps not only the kids grow, but helps Athens

grow and adds another element to the Athens community.

Dakota Henderson, 17, said that someone walked up to him one day and asked him if he wanted to start gardening. He has been with

the program ever since.

“It’s a very good program,” Henderson said.

Henderson praised the program because kids are able to learn how to grow and sell their own produce before they even turn 16.

YEAH! Kids are currently growing broccoli, tomatoes, lettuce, thyme, kale, beets, parsley and turnips. They also have an apple tree

and are selling strawberry rhubarb rosemary jam and sauerkraut.