Serving as a vehicle for youth education and development, the Youth Farm at Hilltop Urban Farm engages school-aged children from the Hilltop communities with food production and teamwork. Partnering with the Pittsburgh Arlington School (adjacent to the site), Lighthouse Central (a pillar of local community youth service) and the New Academy Charter School, the Youth Farm acts as a living agricultural and ecological laboratory for children. It promotes the teaching of Nutrition & Cooking, Growing Food, Local Food Systems, Agriculture as a Career Pathway, and Ecology of Western Pennsylvania through the lens of urban farming with the support of program partners Penn State Extension, Allegheny Land Trust Education Department, and Grow Pittsburgh.
All elements of the Youth Farm are visually appealing, colorful, child-friendly and scaled to size. Children can expect to learn, play and interact among raised bed growing areas, youth gardens, a youth orchard and a youth food forest.
The first season of on-site youth programming will begin in April 2019. Youth ages 3 to 19 who reside in Mt. Oliver City, St. Clair, Arlington and Arlington Heights neighborhoods, or who attend Pittsburgh Arlington PreK-8 School, Lighthouse Cathedral, or the New Academy Charter High School are eligible to participate in 2019 programs. For the 2019 growing season, all programs are free of charge, including summer programs.
"We have to bring children into a new relationship to food that connects them to culture and agriculture."
- Alice Waters