Local Author Draws on Teen Voices
Illène Pevec, the program director for Fat City Farmers, a food education program in Basalt, recently authored Growing a Life: Teen Gardeners Harvest Food, Health and Joy.
Authentic youth voices abound in the book as Pevec interviews more than 90 teens who hail from programs in New York, New Mexico, Colorado and California. As Pevec enables young organic gardeners and farmers to articulate the transformations that occur as they grow food for themselves and their communities; their voices reveal both how valuable gardening is to urban youth and what aspects of the programs described have the greatest positive impacts.
Louise Chawla, a professor emerita in the environmental design program at the University of Colorado Boulder, writes, “Pevec’s first-person documentation of adolescent lives in transition makes this book a remarkably inspiring and grounding read. The interviews, collectively, reveal the holistic ways that hands-on learning, mentorship, positive social settings and a caring relationship with plants can positively affect young lives. The book serves as a powerful call to action.”
Pevec, a former researcher for the Children, Youth and Environments Center for Research and Design at C.U. Boulder, began her work in community youth gardens in 1998 during her graduate studies at the University of British Columbia. Pevec also helped develop local community gardens at Roaring Fork High School and Yampah Mountain High School Gardens. Roaring Fork Lifestyle wrote about her work with Fat City Farmers in an October 2015 article.
Pevec has helped to develop award-winning community and school gardens in the US, Canada, Mexico and her native Brazil, where she founded “A Child’s Garden of Peace” in São Borja, Rio Grande do Sul. Dr. Pevec, who holds a PhD in design and planning, produced a documentary film by the same name, A Child’s Garden of Peace; it toured international festivals in 2005-06 and appeared on PBS’s Natural Heroes series. Dr. Pevec also lectures at conferences such as the American Horticultural Society’s annual National Children & Youth Garden Symposium and the Evergreen Canada’s School Garden Conference.
Mike Levenston, executive director of the City Farmer Society in Vancouver, says that this book “will inspire you from the first sentence, no matter how long you’ve been involved in the garden world.” For more information about Growing a Life, see NewVillagePress.net.