|Northern Berkshire Students Garden Virtually |
|04:00AM / Saturday, September 05, 2020|
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire 2020 Summer Youth Works program went virtual this year with a seven-week virtual gardening Program.
The Northern Berkshire Summer Youth program typically places students in paid internships with local companies but, like most things this year, COVID-19 forced the Berkshire Workforce Board (BWB) to adapt.
Through funding from the First Congregational Church of Williamstown and MountainOne, the BWB converted programming to a seven-week virtual gardening program.
The Berkshire Workforce Board partnered with Greenagers, a youth environment group, who supplied each student with a container garden. Greenagers provided lessons and students learned about gardening and its impacts on food insecurity and social justice. Students also learned about cooking with vegetables.
North Adams Growing Healthy Garden Program also provided daily instruction, mentoring, and videos. Students learned gardening tips and tricks and tried a variety of new foods.
All vegetables harvested were delivered to the Berkshire Food Project.
The final service-learning project was at the Louison House where students built raised garden beds.
McCann students Ashlyn Belisle, Molly Boyer, and Camryn Belisle participated in the program as well as Abby Bird, Vernon Lewis, Talia Rehill, and Hanna Shea from Hoosac Valley. Mount Greylock student Madison Helm also participated.
Staff Heather Shogry-Williams, Kat Toomey, Michele Boyer-Vivori, and Molly Meczwor recruited, selected, and mentored students with continued support from the MassHire Berkshire Career Center who provided weekly stipends to the participants.
A socially distancing celebration was held on Aug. 6 at the Drury High School gardens. North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard gave congratulatory remarks. BWB Board members, Adams Selectwoman Christine Hoyt, funders, partners, parents, and grandparents were in attendance.