Vanessa Raditz, Connecting queer and trans houseless youth in San Francisco to local community gardens

Date grant awarded: October 22, 2016

Half of the 6,000 houseless youth in the San Francisco Bay Area are LGBTQ+. Many of these youth are fleeing situations of abuse and neglect, and now face new violences while houseless in the city. Through this grant from the Pollination Project, the Queer Ecologies Project will be starting a series of workshops to connect queer and trans houseless youth in San Francisco to urban gardens in order to support physical, mental, and spiritual healing.

These workshops will also engage the youth in conversations about how urban garden sites can better meet their needs, culminating in youth-directed curricula and training for urban gardeners. Combining ecological education, yoga and embodiment, and other healing arts techniques, the project aims to make urban gardens more accessible and healing to queer and trans houseless youth, and to promote the leadership of these youth in the ecological justice movement.

This project was chosen to receive a flow fund by Youth Development Hub member, Susan Silber. Susan told us: “I am honored to support Vanessa as a rising star in the Community Resilience Movement… I love that she is using community gardens as a tool to help support queer homeless youth. These kinds of projects are simply incredible examples of the power of bringing traumatized individuals together to work on a positive project, especially one that helps sustain them with healthy organic food.”