The TEEN Program Collaboration:
In 2010, we officially began working with the TEEN Program http://www.centralia.edu/academics/childfamily/TEEN.html at the Centralia College. We began with a small on campus garden plot to supplement their limited food budget, and to educate on sustainability, local economy, and nutrition. From that small garden the seeds of a student based business were planted. Over the course of the next few years the garden grew as did their yields giving them opportunity to cook the now excess produce into various treats to share with students and staff in their nutrition based program.
In 2012 we were inspired to take the next step and create our own farmers market booth on campus. With the help of the Puget Sound Community Foundation, Twin Cities Rotary, and support of the campus we opened in the spring of 2013 selling excess produce, plants and seeds grown in their garden plots both at the farm and on campus. We hope to expand what the students can offer at the Market booth to include healthy breakfast and lunch snacks and other canned and processed local items in the future.
The educational opportunities provided through the garden and market booth are endless, from math to science to culture and english. The added component of the student run business greatly enhances the programs hands on learning opportunities. It also give a sense of teamwork and success as well as exposure to the greater college campus enhancing the potential that they continue on after graduation from the TEEN program.