Farm's youth program gets grant award
Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, Marana Heritage Farm apprentices Chris Martin, 16, and Debbie Weingarten removed a patch of Bermuda grass from the north end of the community farm in Marana. The Community Food Bank has received a three-year grant to expand the apprenticeship program and other offerings.

A three-year, $293,215 community food projects grant has been awarded to the Community Food Bank in Tucson, with funds included for the Marana Heritage Farm youth program.

The grant was announced last week. It comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and is intended "to create long-term solutions to improve food security in Pima County by providing education and training to low-income youth about food systems, sustainable farming methods and micro-enterprise opportunities and increase the amount of locally grown fresh produce consumed in our community," a release said.

The Marana Heritage Farm Youth Program takes place at the 10-acre Marana Heritage Farm. Sixty low-income youth (ages 13-18) may participate in five apprentice sessions occurring each year; two low-income young adults (ages 18-24) participate in six-month internships; and approximately 500 school children will visit and volunteer at the Marana Heritage Farm annually.

"The Community Food Bank is proud to have this opportunity to teach middle and high school students and young adults about growing food and the effects of the food system on our health and community well being," said Varga Garland, PhD, director of the food bank's Community Food Resource Center.

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