I just got off the phone with Greg Owens, the Executive Director of the Bozeman Youth Initiative (bozemanyouth.org), and he is really excited to work with 1kng over the summer here in Bozeman.
To give you all a little background on BYI and their current, amazing project...
During my senior year in high school (about 18 months ago), I did some work with BYI, and the project that we worked tirelessly on was the creation of a Mobile Greenhouse Bus--an old school bus that we converted into a greenhouse. We named the bus BOB--the Bozone Ozone Bus--and the concept of the project was to create (literally) a vehicle that would connect community members with elementary-aged students in the Bozeman area. Volunteers, particularly high school and college students, would create the bus, create a curriculum suitable for little kids, and then travel the community from school to school teaching kids about basic concepts in plant biology and gardening and planting skills. My favorite part of this is the community-building aspect of connecting high school and college students with elementary-aged kids.
I left Bozeman in June of 2009, and so I was only part of the planning process and didn't get to participate in any actual construction--in fact, I haven't even seen BOB in his final form yet! But since I left, the folks at BYI have finished the Bus, and this spring they actually started going to schools, teaching and planting. A bunch of inspired do-ers, who take an active role in improving their community?--I think so!
The idea behind their garden is what they call a "Pizza Garden." The plants in the bus are things like tomatoes, basil, wheat, and other things that can be used in making a pizza. In the Spring, they planted the ingredients with kids in the Bozeman School District, and then the plan is to return in the fall with Pizzas (made from BOB's produce, of course!) and share the harvest.
Hopefully, 1kng will find numerous ways to collaborate with BYI in the coming years. This summer, we hope to do some events centered around youth service days in the area, possibly holding kids garden parties at parks around town and holding gardening workshop activities for kids. Of course, we will keep all of you posted as these ideas and/or dates become solidified.
In my opinion, this is such a powerful project. While talking on the phone just now, Greg shared several anecdotal stories about kids who are involved with this project--both as youth volunteers, and as younger participants--who have now become advocates at their homes for gardening, composting, and organically grown foods. He even mentioned one girl who volunteers with them who was inspired to teach her Grandmother how to compost and get her started with a compost bin.
If you want more information, please visit their website: bozemanyouth.org
. It is a wordpress blog site (just like the old 1kng site!), so you are able to go back and see the whole story of BOB from the last 18 months. Pretty powerful stuff, if you ask me!