Engaged youth supporting our local food system!

Engaged youth supporting our local food system!

Gardening is joyful!

Gardening is joyful!

Youth from Roots & Wisdom in the field

Youth from Roots & Wisdom in the field

Youth participants with produce they've grown

Youth participants with produce they've grown

Flowers grown in the Roots & Wisdom program.

Flowers grown in the Roots & Wisdom program.

Roots & Wisdom

Roots and Wisdom, a youth agriculture and community service program, brings together Schenectady County youth to naturally grow vegetables for sale within Schenectady County and to be donated to local food pantries. Program participants actively learn about sustainable agriculture, hunger, nutrition, and diversity. Roots and Wisdom’s participants, through hard work and community service, create genuine change in Schenectady.

Who can participate?

The Seed to Harvest Program – a job training site for Schenectady County residents between 16 and 21 years old. Our program provides an opportunity for young adults to focus on their future in a supportive environment. A crew plants, tends, harvests, and sells vegetables; prepares food; practices and discusses job skills and career development; and much more. No previous experience is necessary, but applicants must be willing and able to work hard. Priority consideration for paid summer employment will be given to successful participants. Applicants must meet special criteria to be considered.

The Summer Growing Program – a six-week Schenectady County Summer Youth Employment Cooperative site for Schenectady County high school-aged youth. Youth participants work as part of a crew to plant, tend, and harvest vegetables. Crew then helps to distribute produce to food pantries and to sell vegetables at the Fehr Avenue Farm Stand. Youth also participate in regular workshops and discussions about food systems, sustainability, nutrition, diversity and leadership through work in urban organic agriculture. No previous experience is necessary, but applicants must be willing and able to work hard.

Where are the gardens?

Our main garden is located on the corner of Fehr Avenue and Central Park Road, directly across the street from Parkview Cemetery. We also share space at the Sustainable Living Center at 180 PTL Arthur Chaires Lane in Central Park, next to the tennis courts.

What do you do with the produce you grow?

Farm Stand – part of our summer growing program is running the farm stand located on the corner of Fehr Avenue and Central Park Road. We are open for six weeks (maybe more depending on the weather). 

Harvest Share – during the growing season, our produce is sold to local residents through a modified CSA called Harvest Share. Members sign up during the winter for a season of locally- and naturally- grown fruit and vegetables for weekly pick up.

During the growing season, the Niskayuna Food Cooperative, a local grocery store, sells our produce and Cella Bistro, a local restaurant, uses Roots and Wisdom-grown vegetables in their meals

Roots & Wisdom also makes weekly donations to Safehouse and the SICM food pantry on Albany Street during the harvest season.

Are there volunteer opportunities in the program?

While the Seed to Harvest crew spends most of their time in the garden, there are often times when they need an ear to listen, time to prepare for their TASC (formerly GED), or practice for interviews. The wonderful help of local volunteers in the garden allows us the time to work on these other tasks. Adult volunteers are needed during the spring and fall seasons. Volunteers will learn hands-on gardening skills, the chance to mentor our crew, and enjoy a few hours of a relaxing time spent in an urban garden.


Last updated February 3, 2016