Growing a Life

Teen Gardeners Harvest Food, Health, and Joy

Illène Pevec, Ph.D.


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. 

She is best known for her work in community youth gardens, which began in 1998 during graduate studies at the University of British Columbia. Pevec helped develop a large, award-winning community garden at a Vancouver elementary school. Dr. Pevec also brought her research with youth gardening to her native country of Brazil, where she founded A Child's Garden of Peace in São Borja, Rio Grande do Sul, a series of community gardens for youth of all ages, as well as adult volunteers. She produced a documentary by the same name, A Child's Garden of Peace about her work in Brazil, which toured international festivals from 2005-2006 and appeared on PBS's Natural Heroes series. 

During doctorate work at the University of Colorado, she helped develop the Roaring Fork High School and Yampah Mountain High School Gardens. Pevec has published numerous scholarly papers as well as popular articles, including for Green Teacher Magazine. She frequently lectures at conferences, such as the American Horticultural Society's annualNational Children & Youth Garden Symposium, and was keynote presenter for the Evergreen Canada School Garden Conference. Growing a Life is Dr. Pevec's first book.