The Plain Dealer, Greg Burnett, 7/28/2017
Sixteen-year-old Tamryn Dailey fondly remembers her first gardening experience. It was with her grandmother when she was younger. The elder was teaching her how to plant flowers. Dailey is now one of 50 kids involved with Green Corps.
Green Corps is an urban agricultural work-study program for teens ages 14 to 18. The Cleveland Botanical Garden founded the program in 1996.
Dailey learned about the program through her guidance counselor and wanted to start digging soil immediately.
“I was interested because of my gardening experience with my grandmother,” she said. “During the program, I planted watermelon, basil, tomatoes, scallions and cauliflower. We harvest our own garden and take the contents home. I’ve already taken basil home to my mom.”
The teens are paid minimum wage. But they must have a record of stability. After applying for the position, they have to submit a letter of recommendation and attendance from school to get an interview.
“Each summer, we employ youth to work 20 hours a week at the farm closest to where they live,” says Kelly Barrett, Green Corps manager of operations.
The program, in its 21st year, has created five Cleveland urban farms that encompass more than three acres on the East Side.
From 1 to 4 pm. Saturday, in conjunction with Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, the 2017 Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshops Series will offer a tour at the Midtown Learning Farm, 1945 East 66th St., and the Dunham Tavern and Museum (which is next door). The event is free. Participants will get tours, led by the youths, that will discuss the farm as well as the program. A history of the Little Yellow House, a cooking demo from former Green Corps students, information from Katie Todd of the Ohio State University, who is conducting research on bees at all the farms, and tours of the Dunham Tavern and Museum are also planned.
Dailey’s grandmother passed away in 2013. Before she died, she talked about the two of them creating another garden. “My grandmother and I never got a chance to do another garden. So this experience has allowed me to honor her,” she said.