Growing a Life

Teen Gardeners Harvest Food, Health, and Joy

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A testament to the influential nature of educational and community gardening programs for teens

Part engaging conversation, part comprehensive fieldwork, Growing a Life demonstrates just how influential educational and community gardening programs can be for young teens. Follow author Illène Pevec as she travels from rural Colorado to inner city New York, agrarian New Mexico to Oakland, California, in order to study youth gardening and the benefits it contributes to at-risk teen lives. Extensive research, supplemented by beautifully candid interviews with students, illustrate the life altering physical and mental benefits that mentored gardening programs can provide. Giving readers the opportunity to examine the largely unexplored topic of urban gardening, the programs discussed present models for future educational and community based gardens. Each destination brings with it an abundance of programs geared toward educating teens by giving them the tools they will need in order to have fruitful futures. With an emphasis on positive psychology, Growing a Life delves into the minds of underprivileged teens and what gardening means to them.

Dr. Illène Pevec, PhD., is a researcher for the Children, Youth and Environments Center for Research and Design, University of Colorado Boulder, as well as program director for Fat City Farmers, a local food education program in Basalt, Colorado.


Title Growing a Life
Subtitle Teen Gardeners Harvest Food, Health, and Joy
Edition First Edition
Publisher New Village Press
Audience 01 General / trade
Credit Illene Pevec
Title First Published 27 September 2016
Includes Bibliography; Notes


Preface: Do Our Brains Change While We Garden?
Introduction: Why Teens? Why Gardens?
Chapter 1: The Green Bronx Machine
Chapter 2: Planting Trees, Tomatoes, and Transformation
Chapter 3: Sustainable Technology Effect
Chapter 4: Challenges These Gardeners Face
Chapter 5: Choosing Higher Education
Chapter 6: Sowing Seeds for Success
Chapter 7: Gardens Grow Healthy Youth
Chapter 8: ¡Cultiva! A Market and Youth Leadership Garden
Chapter 9: Colorado Rocky Mountain School
Chapter 10: Roaring Fork High School
Chapter 11: Yampah Mountain High and the Teen Mother Gardeners 
Chapter 12: Adolescent Health and the Food Environment: What Difference Can a Garden Make?
Chapter 13: Oakland Gangs or Gardens? 
Chapter 14: Changing the Urban Food Desert 
Chapter 15: A Samoan American Gardener 
Chapter 16: Youth Reach out to the Community 
Chapter 17: A Mentor Goes the Extra Many Miles 
Chapter 18: Love Cultivating School Yards 
Chapter 19: Game Theory, Optimizing a Food Business 
Chapter 20: Taos: Ancient Traditions, Young Farmers 
Chapter 21: Sembrando Semillas: Community Irrigation 
Chapter 22: Albuquerque: Project Feed the Hood 
Chapter 23: Cultivating Health, Happiness and Peace
Chapter 24: Physiological and Neurological Research: Clues to Why Gardening Benefits the Gardener

Dec 12, 2016
"Growing a Life offers an affirmation that time spent in the garden may be growing far more than we realize."
- Heather Seggel

Children, Youth and Environments
"Pevec in Growing a Life, solidifies the effectiveness of school gardenining programs on the development and well being of adolescents."
- Patsy Eubanks Owens, Children, Youth and Environments