Forty five youth from six different programs came together Tuesday, August 5 for the first annual Pittsburgh Youth Garden Summit.

The day was 100% facilitated and presented by youth – there were no adult voices. The day included a keynote speaker and breakout sessions covering topics in four larger categories: Best Urban Farming Practices, Food and Community, Experience within the Program, and Additional Programming off the Farm/Garden. Students had lively conversations in groups with youth from other programs, then returned to their original groups to discuss improving their programs for next year.


After the summit, 85% of youth said they are interested in continuing to work in urban agriculture in the future. These are the future urban farmers of Pittsburgh! In addition, 88% of participants said they now feel connected to the larger movement of youth working on growing projects around the city.

At the end of the day, youth wrote “folding poems,” where each individual writes a line (but can only see the line before their own). The poems follow below.

Group One
I like plants,
And am inspired by the youth gardeners here today
Makes me want to go outside and grow some food
And to eat some food that we grow. And to know where our food comes from.
Sunshine and smiles and dirt between my toes
I like plants a lot

Group Two
Times we have spent as one whole person
We all worked together as a group
We stayed positive with each other and gave fun facts
It was interesting
I learned a lot
It was delightful
Learning new things
Learning about new people
Cooking food

Group Three
I’m so proud of the youth today
For working so hard
It pays off
To be helpful
We learned a lot
Life skills
So many young people growing good food
It excites me to know so many people care about their community

Group Four
Today was long
It was a great experience to see different Grow Pittsburgh groups
This day is very hot
This day was doing a lot
I really like the food and how everyone brought something special – even edible flowers!
Having a group discussion with different people was really fun
It gave us an opportunity to talk with different people and their different encounters with similar experiences or activities that we’ve done over the summer

Group Five
A world full of ideas and possibilities
We all came together as one
Pittsburgh youth garden summit: Remember guys we are the first. We made history.
We are the best at Phipps tell your sis!
Come visit us while we work, ask us questions, we’re not jerks.
Spend some time admiring hard work and dedication – both ours and your own

Group Six
That went better than expected
A safe inspiring space to dream, do and create
Very educational, makes you appreciate what we do
Feeling proud of everyone here
Feeling excited to take away new ideas about what is good and what is bad in youth programs
Also to embrace a new world of living learning and eating with people who contribute to change