Phoenix to Invest in Student Sustainability Programs - AZEdNews
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Phoenix to Invest in Student Sustainability Programs

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  • City of Phoenix   |  

Garfield Elementary School Sixth-graders Planting Vegetables In The Courtyard Garden. Photo By Lisa Irish/AZEdNews

Mayor Kate Gallego and members of city council unanimously approved two actions which bolster sustainability education for youth and will help grow talent for future green jobs. The city’s unique Student Council Sustainability Officer program will expand, and an urban agriculture fellowship program will standup in February. “These programs are smart investments in today’s students who are interested in climate, science and green jobs of the future,” said Mayor Kate Gallego. “Our young residents in the programs will have a head start on promising career paths, access to robust workforce resources, and will help inspire their peers.”

Expansion of the Student Council Sustainability Officer Program will be supported through an EPA Environmental Education Local Grant and additional support possible through the Arizona Department of Education. Phoenix Union High School District has demonstrated a successful model which would expand to other districts through a series of mini-grants. It also would include a web-based green guide available to all schools. The program embeds sustainability education with student leadership, and has potential to become a national model.

Launch of the Phoenix Urban Agriculture Fellowship was inspired by COVID-19 response programs that provided food assistance for vulnerable populations and communities. It is designed to train the next generation of growers and food distributors who will represent the future of farm entrepreneurship, innovation, and business ownership in Phoenix. Upon completion of the fellowship, students are eligible to enter the Phoenix Worker Cooperative Sustainable Food System Incubator Training Program and continue green career pathways important to food production. The program is supported by Vitalyst Health Foundation, the Gila River Indian Community, American Rescue Plan Act funding, and nine local farms.

The Phoenix Urban Agriculture Fellowship will start in February and run through March 2023.  The Student Council Sustainability Officer Program expansion will begin in July 2022 with support through June 2024.