Connecting YouthQuest & Home: Urban Gardening

Many students who live in a city setting don’t get a chance to experience gardening and the healthy food choices that come with it – which is why YouthQuest is bringing gardening to the students.

“Urban gardening improves access to healthy foods for everyone, regardless of where they live.,” said LaKeitha Givens, YouthQuest Program Director. “By empowering students to grow their own container plants and hanging bottle gardens during YouthQuest, we hope they’re inspired to continue and build upon these healthy behaviors at home.”

To help students learn about urban gardening, YouthQuest will focus on planning and planting a garden, what foods are grown in a garden and the difference between growing a garden in the city compared to a farm.

  • Students in grades K-2 will get different leaves, stems and flowers along with some paint. They will then create art from herbs and leaves making prints.
  • In the story “Jack and the Beanstalk,” his mother throws his magic beans out the window. The students in 3-6 will observe which bean seeds germinate first and grow the fastest. They will also create a hanging tomato garden using recycled bottles.

To extend your child’s learning past YouthQuest, families can try some of the following activities to keep youth engaged at home in the evenings and weekends.

  • Give your child the responsibility for growing flowers and/or vegetables.
  • Encourage input on the family menu and cost of feeding the family. Ask your child “What are some healthy foods we could buy?”
  • Go to a U-Pick garden. To find one near you, check out U-Pick Michigan.
  • Take your student to the Flint Farmers’ Market.


Instead of themes, older students 7-12 experience hands-on, real-life learning with a Summer on the Road. Beyond the classroom, students take field trips to various destinations such as museums, colleges, amusement parks and science centers. Parents can reinforce lessons learned by simply asking students to share what they did that day, giving them opportunities to apply what they learned and encouraging them to pursue learning beyond the summer.

YouthQuest is made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.