Get Going, Get Growing, also known as the 4G’s, is a program that is funded by the Ajo Regional Food Partnership and administered by the International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA) in the community of Ajo, Arizona. This program is in the midst of its third year and has proven to be a great benefit not only to the 20+ participants it has seen over the course of those years, but to the community as well. With the help of volunteer mentors, 4G interns are guided on all aspects of gardening including planting and harvesting vegetables, irrigation, soil amendment, growing capacity, fence installations, food preparation and more to become a significant source of fresh produce for this isolated community as well as be promoters for healthy lifestyles. A few projects the 4G interns have participated in include:
The Ajo Mesquite Project
Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture
WIC (Women's, Infants, and Children) demonstration garden
The Ajo Unified School District school garden
Loma Bonita Neighborhood garden
Many Hands Community Chicken Coop
The Backyard garden project
Food Pantry Food Bank
2nd Saturday Farmer’s Market
Nutritious and affordable food options are difficult to obtain in our rural low-income town, thus characterizing Ajo as a food desert. But in the program’s few short years, gardens have been established and maintained at the health clinic, the school, various neighborhoods and communities, and many backyards. In addition, over 160 families depend on the free and healthy produce they receive from the local food bank that is grown and donated by the 4G program year round. But Get Going, Get Growing means more to us than gardening and healthy eating habits. Interns are also learning essential job training skills to increase their employ-ability, an opportunity that is next to non-existent for the young people in our town. These skills include, but are not limited to, communication skills, interpersonal skills, accountability, and punctuality.
If the Get Going, Get Growing program is not funded, many current and potential interns will once again be limited in opportunities to learn something new, gain work experience, and grow as individuals.
Risks and challenges
Although the Get Going, Get Growing program is steadily overcoming barriers to unemployment in Ajo, the turn-over rate with interns still proves to be a challenge we are constantly hurdling. However, second chances are given time and time again once issues are acknowledged and addressed.
Additionally, another potential challenge could be keeping our volunteer mentors engaged over the course of time. However, many of our mentors have been volunteers since the beginning of the program and continue to be very dedicated to our interns and the local food movement.
Overall Get Going, Get Growing has an excellent track record of being a valuable asset to the community by taking on a vigorous unemployment cycle, engaging our youth, and promoting healthier lifestyles to our community (with an occasional tacos or Indian fry bread splurge!).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)