Grow Free uses community gardening as a catalyst to develop creativity, leadership, responsibility, a sense of community, and practical skills among young people. The project aims to connect high school students with senior volunteers to jointly plan, design, construct, grow and harvest a sustainable community garden in underutilised spaces at high schools using upcycled materials. Many youth currently lack the opportunity/inspiration to get involved in tangible local projects that have real visible impact. Furthermore, a lack of engagement opportunities to bring generations together to learn from each other can contribute to a sense of loneliness and disconnect among and between younger and older generations. Grow Connect seeks to remove this disconnect by creating a practical experience which also promotes societal awareness around nutrition, sustainability & the environment, while activating under-utilised urban spaces and up-cycling waste materials.
- Nurturing collaboration and leadership among young people by including students in the entire life cycle of the project, from inception and planning through to harvesting and cooking the food produced.
- Fostering intergenerational exchange and community building between young participants and older volunteers (Global Shapers Community, local elderly people within the community). Rather than having the senior volunteers ‘giving orders’, the students will be encouraged to co-create and lead the project, leading to a more informal and authentic style of knowledge sharing to come from the senior participants.
- Developing responsibility among youth to ensure that the project is maintained throughout it’s entire life cycle. Plants are not something you can forget after a few weeks and come back to, this project will require participants to remain committed throughout.
- Educational insights related to climate change, environmental stewardship, sustainability, gardening, nutrition, and understanding where our food comes from. These are tangible and relevant skills, but really act as a catalyst for developing a deeper sense of community and responsibility among participants.