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  • Writer's pictureCaleb Weaver

Youth to Build Sustainable Mini-Urban Farm


Visiting youth with Where There Be Dragons dig a trench to passively harvest rainwater at the Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center.
Visiting youth with Where There Be Dragons dig a trench to passively harvest rainwater at the Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center.

Thanks to recommendations made by a committee of Santa Cruz County residents convened by the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, $35K of grant funding available through federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 will support Borderlands Restoration Network to partner with the Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center (PYEC) to develop a mini-urban farm at the PYEC. Participants of BRN’s Borderland Earth Care Youth alongside visiting groups from local colleges and universities, and visiting youth groups will construct the mini-urban farm, learning about both the design and implementation processes.


Borderlands Earth Care Youth participants installing a cistern at the Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center.
Borderlands Earth Care Youth participants installing a cistern at the Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center.

The farm will be sustained solely by rainwater, teaching youth how to grow resilient food crops in projected drier futures. The PYEC mini-urban farm has been designed to produce organic vegetables, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, kiwis, grapes, pineapple guava, apples, pears, pomegranates, figs, and eggs in the face of a changing climate. No groundwater or municipal water will support the growth of vegetables, fruits, or even laying hens. Once the mini-urban farm is installed, food will become available for youth center attendees and families alike.


Visiting youth with Where There Be Dragons teach community members Shelley and Jonathan White about the rain garden they built at the Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center.
Visiting youth with Where There Be Dragons teach community members Shelley and Jonathan White about the rain garden they built at the Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center.

During the early stages of the pandemic, food security was a major issue for families in Patagonia. This mini-urban farm alongside paid training for local youth, and PYEC's agri-business incubator program will together provide a resilient community food source and demonstration site.


Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center youth mulching blueberry bushes at the berry patch.
Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center youth mulching blueberry bushes at the berry patch.

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