The Urban GEMS program was designed to address the well-documented link between food insecurity and school failure at a neighborhood level. Addressing the basic educational and nutritional needs of young people growing up in economically challenged environments requires new thinking. Urban GEMS features project-based learning and youth leadership opportunities, which include tackling real and significant challenges facing the African American community.
The Urban GEMS curriculum integrates food systems, nutrition, art, and culinary arts specifically to improve healthy eating and increase skills of healthful living. High school students seeking academic enrichment and positive youth engagement may enroll in the Urban GEMS program at one of three locations. Youth learn the science of aeroponic food production with the Tower Garden® system; positive youth development for health and wellness (including socio-emotional, cognitive, and nutritional needs for optimal living); food policy as social justice work; entrepreneurship in the food industry; the basics of business math; and general workforce readiness.
Youth are matched up with community and Ohio State student mentors to expand professional networks toward future success. With indoor farms located at 3500 Refugee Road, 996 Oakwood Ave., 905 Mt. Vernon Ave., and 1854 Parsons Ave., we can provide more opportunities for youth. Urban GEMS has already engaged 235 youth in 2016-2017. Our long-term vision is to create a sustainable community-owned business on the south side of Columbus to employ 16-24 year-olds in meaningful and living-wage work for the betterment of the community. Our capacity to spread the Urban GEMS program is only limited by resources.
Urban GEMS combats the problem of food insecurity and the lack of education in schools at the neighborhood level. Associate Professor of Human Sciences, Deanna Wilkinson, has partnered with the community to diminish this problem.
We are training the next generation of scientists, mathematicians, accountants, entrepreneurs, culinary artists, and humanitarians. Many children and teenagers will realize the benefits from Urban GEMS as gardening promotes healing, healthy eating promotes wellness, and positive youth development strategies promote academic excellence. Your gift will help aid our efforts to combat food insecurity and empower our community’s youth.
Are you staff or faculty? You can make your gift via payroll deduction.