Green Jobs for a Greener Poughkeepsie!

Dear Farm Community,
We have some folks we’d like you to meet.

They’re the first participants in our new Green Jobs program, which provides young people with an outdoor farm classroom to learn to grow food for their community. In addition to growing and propagating food crops using sustainable practices, they will deepen their understanding of local and regional food systems and learn to educate others about organic gardening, healthy eating, and using urban agriculture for community building. This project will provide intensive training to 34 youth over the course of two years.

At PFP, we believe that every person has a right to real food. This right extends beyond the consumer's purchasing power: every person has the right to access the space, knowledge, and resources for growing the food they eat and to access fresh and nutritious food grown by others. As part of our commitment to supporting young people in our community in this endeavor, we’ve launched this important new Green Jobs program.

Meet Demier, Isiah, Lucas, and Kitana, the first four participants of the Green Jobs program. They joined us in March, and have been a total delight to have working with our team!

 Lucas Ramos!

Lucas Ramos!

 Demier Harrison!

Demier Harrison!

 Isiah Hawley!

Isiah Hawley!

 Kitana Zachary!

Kitana Zachary!

These young adults have such a great attitude. They are always smiling, and always ready to learn something new. It has been an honor and a whole lot of fun to learn and grow alongside them so far!

According to them, the never ending learning opportunities play a big role in their excitement. Isiah remarks, “There is so much you have to know about each individual crop to grow it successfully! It’s a whole new world to me, and I feel like I could spend years here and still be learning. It’s seriously awesome.” If you ask them their absolute favorite part of the program however, it is a tough call to make. Isiah again,  “This is the first job I’ve had where I wake up and I’m so excited to get to work.... I didn’t know that was possible! I wake up, I’m excited, and the day just gets better and better.”

The Green Jobs program is the first project we have created as a complete collaboration between the farm and education department at PFP. If you ask Lucas, it’s this cohesion, it’s the times we all come together, that creates the true magic.  He says, “Mid-day we all come together as a big team. Everyone sits together like a family, and you can probably hear us laughing from miles away.” The rest of the crew agrees but can’t hold back in sharing more of what makes this place special to them. According to Demier, “There is something about this food itself!!”.... So every day we work we try new foods at lunch, right? Well after I eat here my body feels CRAZY. It is ready TO GO! I feel unstoppable.”

The Green Jobs crew is in complete awe of the farm, and meanwhile, we are in complete awe of them. It has been obvious from day one that this is a team completely devoted to community. From Isiah, “Every day there are at least four stories I can’t wait to run home and share with my family members, and now they can’t wait for me! They need the magic too.” After just one week on the crew, Ellie ran into Demier on Main Street, where he was already plotting to begin a space to share hands-on training from his experience. “ELLIE! What are the chances! I was just talking about you and the farm! Do you have seed catalogs I could have? We need to start growing food on Main Street so everyone can get in on this good feeling.” 

 Demier and Lucas, kings of the tomato tunnel.

Demier and Lucas, kings of the tomato tunnel.