Walnut Way gives a warm welcome to the Growing Youth Leadership (GYL) interns. GYL is an intensive agriculture and customer service internship program that takes place in Walnut Way’s reclaimed vacant lots, turned production gardens. Interns learn to grow and steward the land and bring crops to harvest with steady weeding, watering, and nourishing the plants in the farm fields. They truly put the mission into action with environmental stewardship all season long. Every Saturday, the interns harvest crops in the morning and bring fresh produce to the local Lindsay Heights Fondy Farmers Market, located on 20th and Fond du lac Avenue, a few blocks from Walnut Way. There they learn about sales and customer service and share their harvest with the community.
Meet the crew:
Stacy Whiters—We are excited to welcome back 17 year old Stacy Whiters. He comes to Walnut Way for the third year in the program and shares valuable experience in the gardens and in canning and preservation. He is a rising sophomore attending Milwaukee Collegiate Academy. Whiters lives in nearby Hillside and is interested in mechanics and fixing bikes. Welcome back Stacy!
Lawrence Justus—Rising sophomore, Lawrence, attends Vincent High School of Agricultural Sciences. He has taken agricultural coursework which he is already applying to the Walnut Way gardens. Lawrence said that he applied to the program because “his school is an agricultural school, and I felt like it was the closest thing I could get to practicing over the summer.” He shared that, “the skills and general of knowing [gardening] and planting, and making a garden bed” is important to him “because you never know when you will need to start growing your own food.” Lawrence plays football at Vincent and enjoys playing and watching basketball.
Khadijah Drame—Lindsay Heights resident and rising junior at Divine Savior Holy Angels, Khadijah has her future set on entrepreneurship in the fashion or coffee industry. When talking about the work she does at Walnut Way, she said the work matters to her because “it’s important to grow food for the neighborhood and community.” She reflected on learning at Walnut Way, stating that she wants to learn from how Walnut Way runs as a business. She stated that looking at Walnut Way’s business structure will help her understand “the ins and outs, what positions are needed, and how the community works together is really important for me to learn.”
Lamar Kelly—Lamar lives near Lindsay Heights in the adjacent Amani neighborhood. At 16 years old, he is a rising sophomore attending Milwaukee High School of the Arts. His sophomore year, he achieved a 4.0 GPA. Lamar is full of energy and always eager to take on new tasks. He stated that he enjoys working at Walnut Way in the gardens because “planting stuff makes me feel peaceful.”
Jatavia Robsinson—Jatavia a.k.a. JT is a rising sophomore attending Milwaukee Lutheran. She lives in Lindsay Heights and is active with Running Rebels. JT is excited about learning this summer at Walnut Way. She stated that she wants to “get more experience in the garden and learn where our food really comes from, like spinach, beets, and learn more about fruit, how to plant them and survive for the future.”
Stephanie Eseyin—Stephanie is 15 years old and a rising junior attending Golda Meir. She will be a 15-year-old senior next year! Stephanie lives in Lindsay Heights neighborhood and emigrated from Nigeria to live with her uncle and cousin to David. She speaks multiple languages including English and Yoruba. Stephanie stated that she applied for GYL “for the experience and also the leadership skills I could obtain.”
David Ibitoye—David is a 16 years old, rising Sophomore, of Nigerian heritage, and attends Eastbrook Academy. He lives in Lindsay Heights and stated that he applied because he wanted to try gardening this summer and in his neighborhood. David plays the viola with the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and has worked with the YMCA.
Ketlove Gray—Ketlove is 17 years old, and joined the program from Marquette, Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula where she graduated from Marquette High. Ketlove currently resides in the Washington Heights neighborhood and will return to Marquette to attend college at Northern Michigan University in the fall for Nursing. She stated that she “applied for Growing Youth Leadership because it’s a great opportunity to work with other people and it gives back to the community and makes it a healthier neighborhood.”
Welcome Growing Youth Leadership Interns! Be sure to visit us on Saturdays at the Fondy Farmers Market, where we will have fresh produce on sale from the Walnut Way gardens.