Building. And Arting. And Arting. And Building by Tomas and Maya During the last week of June, Planting Justice partnered with Youth Spirit Artworks  (YSA), a local nonprofit that seeks to empower homeless and low-income youth aged 16-25 with green art jobs and job training so they can gain the skills, experience and self-confidence to meet their full potential.

This garden is meant to be an Arting and Gardening Lot and a new space that will annex the Tuesday South Berkeley Farmers Market  (on Adeline and Alcatraz, right around the corner from YSA) allowing artists and the local community to sell art and garden items!

And, (prepare for a shocker) it was my first garden build! Not even just my first build with Planting Justice, my first garden build EVER!

(Ok, because my mom will probably comment saying something about how I used to help her in the garden growing up, I have helped do “garden things” but I’ve never really felt like I’ve done actual garden work. You can check out my first foray into gardening here.  As a part of the build, five Planting Justice staff members worked with five YSA youth to build a 6-bed garden in the parking lot behind YSA headquarters. Once the beds were built, YSA youth painted the finished beds to help make the space their own and incorporate art into the garden space. The painted beds really made the garden pop and feel alive even before the plants were planted.

The garden will be maintained and enjoyed by the larger YSA community which features two cohorts of youth lead by the rockstar Jr. Artist Adonis. Adonis impressed us all with his leadership really stepping up and keeping us all on track for wrapping our build up in time. Thanks Adonis, YSA is sooooo lucky to have you.

In the future, YSA will add a stage to the garden to create a performance space for open mics and poetry slams.

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