Students get hands-on farming experience, college credit in Bridgeport
BRIDGEPORT — Eight Connecticut high school students received hands-on farming experience and college credits from Housatonic Community College through a summer program.
The students, ages 14 to 18, participated in the eight-week Green Village Initiatives Youth Leadership Program through a partnership with the college and GVI.
For six days out of the week, students attended online learning while enrolled in HCC’s Plant and Civilization Course.
The program allowed the students to earn four college credits in biology while also getting hands-on experience at the GVI’s Reservoir Community Farm on Reservoir Avenue.
“GVI is a jewel in the city that can sustain our future,” HCC’s Dean of Academic Affairs Robin Avant said in a statement. “Seeing the youth deeply embedded in soil is remarkable. As they grow crops, the students are growing their independent knowledge and experiences, while building agriculture sustainability plans that are critical to food justice.”
“When community can weave together to hold our youth, we all benefit for generations to come,” GVI Executive Director Ellie Angerame said.
At the farm, the students learned about the process of seed to table, plant anatomy and physiology, food access and sustainability, food deserts, food justice and more.
“Students learn better when they’re getting their hands dirty,” Ofonime Udo-Okon, GVI’s youth leadership program manager, said in a statement. “HCC is setting a precedent as to what integrated, holistic learning can look like.”
Throughout their studies, the eight students, who all live or attend school in Bridgeport, learned the role humans play in the food system — and how they can make a positive change.
Sariah Cohen, a 15-year-old sophomore at Central High School, said the program allowed her to support others.
“I like that we provide the community with fresh, inexpensive food,” she said in a statement.