School gardens are an ideal space to deliver a healthy living curriculum, such as nutrition and physical activity education, to elementary school youth. However, public schools often lack the resources and support to establish sustainable garden-based programming. We created the Healthy Living Ambassador program, a collaborative after-school garden program in low-income communities that brought together resources from schools, community programs, and University of California Cooperative Extension. This school garden program featured culturally competent teens as teachers to serve as near-peer educators and mentors to elementary school youth. The program development model incorporated lessons from sustainable community-based health program interventions and essential elements of teens-as-teachers programs. We share the program logic model and discuss the successes and challenges of this program model that we encountered while developing a long-term, maintainable community garden program to teach healthy living.
Virginia Bolshakova, John Gieng, C. Sheena Sidhu, Mary Vollinger, Lorena Gimeno, and Jessica Guild. "Teens as Teachers in the Garden: Cultivating a Sustainable Model for Teaching Healthy Living" Journal of Youth Development (2018): 111-135. doi:10.5195/jyd.2018.621