Thanks to a grant from the USDA, Trevecca Urban Farm’s Treecycle program is making plans to expand as a year-round initiative. The program employs local youth to plant trees and refurbish bicycles for the community.
Trevecca Nazarene University has been selected to receive a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant that will enable the Trevecca Urban Farm to expand its Treecycle initiative as a year-round program.
Through Treecycle, Trevecca’s Urban Farm employs youth interns to plant trees and to refurbish bicycles for underserved populations in Nashville. With the USDA grant funds of more than $300,000, the Trevecca Urban Farm can make a larger impact with a program that benefits the community in multiple ways.
“We’re excited about the chance we have to not only help our neighbors and our community in a greater way, but also to engage young people in environmental leadership,” Trevecca Urban Farm Director Jason Adkins said. “With the USDA grant, we will be able to extend the impact of Treecycle and involve more youth in the day-to-day operations.”
Through Treecycle, the Urban Farm hires youth for five-week internships. As part of their duties, they repair bicycles to help with local transportation needs and plant fruit trees to help with hunger as well as beautification. Through these tasks, interns gain practical experience in conservation, urban agriculture and urban forestry.
Adkins says the Urban Farm is on schedule to plant its 1,000th tree in early 2024, and will soon begin accepting requests for tree planting.
“From the beginning of time, God has engaged us in tending the earth as a beloved garden,” Trevecca President Dr. Dan Boone said. “From food production to beauty, it matters that we take care of the land that has been entrusted to us. It is a joy for Trevecca to be engaged in this sacred work even as we teach the next generations to steward the earth well.”
The Urban Farm is part of Trevecca’s J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice. In addition to the Treecycle program, the farm raises goats, pigs, ducks and chickens and also maintains a worm farm, campus composting program, beekeeping, an urban orchard, a greenhouse and vegetable gardens.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $70 million in partnerships that will improve outreach to underserved producers and communities to expand access to conservation assistance, including programs funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as career opportunities.
Trevecca Nazarene University is a Christian university in the heart of Nashville focused on preparing students for lives of leadership and service. Founded in 1901, Trevecca is committed to holistic education that encourages students to grow intellectually, socially, emotionally, physically and spiritually. In addition to its historic main campus near downtown Nashville, Trevecca offers two other locations across Tennessee, and online classes worldwide. With students from 44 states and 24 countries, Trevecca offers 17 associate degrees, 77 undergraduate majors, 19 master’s programs and 3 doctoral programs as well as specialist and certificate programs. Trevecca has been recognized as a national university by the U.S. News & World Report; as a doctoral university by the Carnegie Foundation; and as the nation’s #3 school for an online doctorate in leadership by Fortune.