Green Kids in the City

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Young Detroiter Taneesha Fashion. Photo by Marvin Shaouni:

Kids and teenagers all across Detroit work hard every day to make their city a greener, more sustainable place. Growing and selling food, planting trees, fighting for social justice, cleaning up their neighborhoods, teaching their neighbors about empowering new technologies: it's all part of the culture here.

Below is a list of organizations we know about that are doing amazing work with young people in Detroit around sustainability. If your group should be on this list and isn't, please let us know at!

Allied Media Projects

  • Detroit Future Schools
    • Detroit Future Schools partners graduates from Detroit Future Media with K-12 teachers to design and implement digital media arts-integrated curriculum. The goal of DFS is to use digital media arts to provide the project-based learning experiences that students need to understand and shape their worlds.
    • Contact
  • Detroit Future Youth
    • DF Youth aims to strengthen and deepen youth social justice organizing in Detroit by partnering with youth programs that focus on social justice based education and multimedia creation, who are using digital media to transform ourselves and our communities. Our mission is to build a Detroit youth network. Our Vision is to grow a youth led movement in Detroit.
    • Contact

Back Alley Bikes

Back Alley Bikes is a Cass Corridor non-profit bicycle shop and community center. Our mission is to provide cycling education and services with a focus on youth development, sustainable practices and community access.

  • Youth earn-a-bike
    • Youth Earn-A-Bike sessions are where youth ages 8-16 are able to earn a single bicycle of their choosing by building and repairing this bicycle with our qualified staff and volunteers for at least two Earn-A-Bike sessions. Each session is approximately three hours in length, and they are held on Saturday afternoons all year long.
  • Mechanics-in-training program
    • Mechanics in Training is a paid internship program for high School youth aged 14-18. Participants gain valuable mechanical training, as well as job skills, in a real-world climate where both are at a premium. These goals are achieved by the youth having a dedicated supervisor at Back Alley Bikes take them through classroom time before the students work as staff in both our programming and on the shop floor at The Hub of Detroit.
    • Eligible youth are encouraged to apply each spring in May. The interviewing and hiring process then occurs before school gets out in June when the program begins. The program runs all summer until school begins again in September. Mechanics in Training will work about 10-15 hours each week and work on Saturdays is a must.
  • Contact

Detroit Youth Food Brigade

Detroit Youth Food Brigade is a collaboration between local high school students, food-based business, and neighborhood markets to promote food justice and build the local food economy in Detroit. Students have the opportunity to work at Eastern Market, neighborhood markets, and with local food-based businesses.

  • Contact:

Earthworks Urban Farm

Two weekly programs from February-November, with summer camps for each program. Available to children living within two miles of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen

  • Growing Healthy Kids (for 5-11 year olds)
    • Learn the basics of gardening, nutrition, cultural awareness, environmental stewardship and healthy living in our weekly classes. Our main activities include planning our flower and vegetable garden, painting garden signs, cooking pancakes, extracting honey and starting seed transplants in our greenhouse.
  • Youth Farm Stand (for 12-17 year olds)
    • Participants help in our greenhouse, learn about plant lifecycles, help with our value added products, help harvest and prepare vegetables from our field for market and attend market days with our staff.
  • Both programs free to all families, although if you are able to contribute, suggested donation is $5 per season, or $15 for the year, per family.
  • Contact: Denis Rochac, Education Manager,

East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC)

  • Greener Schools
    • The Greener Schools Initiative brings children in Detroit schools closer to nature. We believe that by instilling a sense of interconnectedness and love for the environment our youth can become advocates for their environment and their communities. This is done through our in-school and after school programs of community gardening, environmental education, preventing childhood obesity and more.
  • Youth Food Justice Taskforce
    • With support from the Detroit Food Justice Taskforce, the youth food justice taskforce is working to create opportunities for youth to understand the impact of food related policy such as the 2012 Farm Bill and how it impacts their day to day life. The Youth Food Justice Taskforce works with community gardens, creates food justice media and educational tools, and hosts monthly Food Justice Friday community dinners. Membership is open to all Detroit area youth with an interest in healthy eating and having fun.
    • Community dinners held every first Friday from 6-8 pm at the Cass Community Commons
  • Contact: Alia Harvey Quinn, Youth Program Coordinator,

Greening of Detroit

By using the outdoors as classroom laboratories, students learn from highly skilled teachers who have gone through our extensive life science training program and workshops. The students often participate in environmental service projects where they have a chance to leave a thumbprint in their neighborhood and larger community. And in the summer we continue our mission by hosting Camp Greening for kids to unearth nature and explore the outdoors.

  • Contact: Sarah Halson,

Greening of Detroit Urban Agriculture and Open Spaces

  • Gardening and Nutrition Education Programs
    • The UAO Education Team works to improve nutrition education programming citywide with partners at Detroit Public Schools as well as chartered and private schools. We work with school communities to establish thriving school gardens, to create year round gardening and nutrition education lessons and to provide teacher training opportunities. The UAO Education Team also supports community gardens, churches, and summer programs working with youth by providing on-demand education classes, tours, and community service opportunities for young people of all ages.
  • Youth Growing Detroit
    • These groups participate in multiple leadership training, networking, and marketing opportunities where they learn about agriculture, the environment and our food system. Youth also grow, harvest, and sell their garden produce at market days, where they not only earn a stipend, but also develop insight and experience as young entrepreneurs.
    • The FEAST program is an opportunity for high-school aged youth to bring fresh perspective and creative energy to the dinner table! Each season, the FEAST program works with high school-aged leaders to organize, plan and implement community “feasts”, where together with community members they cook healthy (and delicious) meals with locally available produce and facilitate conversations about the food system, health and an array of social, environmental and economic justice issues. Check FEAST out here!
  • Youth Apprenticeship Program
    • The Urban Agriculture Youth Apprenticeship, a seven-week program, hires youth ages 15-19 to develop agricultural, food preparation, community building, and leadership skills. During the apprenticeship, youth build a well-rounded set of marketable skills and experiences that can be applied in any future academic or employment opportunity. The Greening of Detroit also supports graduates of the Youth Apprenticeship in their future endeavors to create change in the food system.
  • Contact: Ashley Atkinson, (313) 237-8736

Green Living Science

Green Living Science is dedicated to increasing awareness of environmental issues and personal responsibility through education. It is our mission to encourage understanding of our reliance on our environment, our impact, and the importance of individual decision-making. We provide recycling and environmental education to students in the Detroit Public Schools—more than 25,000 students since 2007! We increase environmental awareness, as well as the scope of science curriculums. Our curriculum is applicable for education sessions and workshops in other school districts, as well as for adult education.

  • Contact: Rachel Klegon,