MEDIA ALERT: Broward youth grow food, protect environment with UF/IFAS at YMCA Weston

WHAT: How do you capture the attention of youth, so they embrace environmentally friendly habits? How do you engage them in adopting sustainable best practices that will grow with them? You introduce food into the picture and engage all their senses.

More than 30 youth are learning how easy it is to grow food with minimal ingredients: seeds, soil and water. As they experience watching the seeds of their labor grow into food they can eat, smell and share, they are also learning about hydroponics and environmental horticulture sciences. Why? So they can eat, smell and share with each other and their families in the spirit of Earth Day, celebrated nationally this month.

This unique learning experience is taking place during an eight-week afterschool program made possible through a collaboration between scientists and 4-H agents at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center (UF/IFAS FLREC) and the Weston YMCA Family Center. The youth are learning through hands-on activities designed to teach them where food comes from and how to grow from seed to table hydroponically as they protect the environment, learn about water conservation and more.

“Hydroponics is a sustainable way for everyone to grow food and plants,” said Kimberly Moore, professor of sustainable horticulture and associate director of UF/IFAS FLREC. “We’re conserving water, which is critical for the environment. We are also preventing pollution from introducing fertilizer into the environment, and we are showing students how to grow food in the environment sustainably right in their own homes, balconies, patios, and communities.”

“The YMCA of South Florida understands and emphasizes the importance of providing youth a safe and educational environment after the school day has concluded,” said John Antonelli, executive director at the Weston YMCA Family Center. “With one of the area’s largest afterschool programs, the Y gives kids the opportunity to build on the skills they’ve learned during the course of school and acquire values which will benefit them in their overall growth, allowing them to reach their full potential.”


WHEN:         Friday, April 12, 2024

3 p.m. to 5 p.m.


WHERE:       Weston YMCA Family Center

20201 Saddle Club Road, Weston, FL 33327




CONTACT: — Lourdes Mederos, UF/IFAS Public Relations Manager, 954-577-6363,

— Neal Gulkis, YMCA South Florida Communications Manager, 305-224-3189,



By Lourdes Mederos,

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.  |  @UF_IFAS


ABOUT YMCA of South Florida

For more than a century, the YMCA has been woven into the fabric of the South Florida community. As an award-winning nonprofit, the Y is committed to strengthening community through more than 200 programs serving everyone from six months old to 100 years young. Our Family Centers and programs are inclusive, vibrant hubs of community life, offering a diverse array of classes, cutting-edge fitness facilities, life-saving aquatics, exciting community events, unforgettable camps, supportive afterschool care, and holistic health and wellness programming. At the Y, there’s something for everyone. Join the movement by connecting with us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, or


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Posted: April 4, 2024

Category: 4-H & Youth, Blog Community, Conservation, Curriculum, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Horticulture, Natural Resources, SFYL Hot Topic, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension, UF/IFAS Research, UF/IFAS Teaching, Wildlife
Tags: Environmental Stewards, Kimberly Moore, Media Alert, UF IFAS Extension Broward, UF IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research And Education Center, UF/IFAS Extension Broward County 4-H, YMCA, Youth

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