This month we are saying farewell to one of our beloved Garden Educators, Jay “Jackfruit” Jordan.
Jay came to CommunityGrows in 2015 as a recent graduate of Northwestern University’s African American Studies program. Since then he has managed four of our community gardens, including the ones at Rosa Parks Elementary School — meaning he did a lot of construction, planning, maintenance, and getting his hands dirty!
Through the curriculum he designed for our seven-week Environmental Education program, Jay taught over 400 students from kindergarten to 5th grade how to grow food responsibly and organically.
Jay would often teach his students ways of celebrating the earth, and being thankful for how the garden takes care of us as we take care of it.
The Eleven Practices for an Honorable Harvest
Inspired to take the next step on his personal journey, Jay recently decided to further his education and was accepted into Louisiana State University’s Landscape Architecture master’s program. But he also wanted to find a way to continue the kind of work we do at CommunityGrows, so he reached out to faculty members in the sociology department about creating CG-inspired youth development programs, and they were thrilled with his ideas!
Jay is now enrolled in a PhD program in sociology (way to go, Jay!) and will be working with undergraduates to start teaching gardens at high needs schools, spreading our mission here at CommunityGrows to new places!
We applaud Jay’s dedication to youth and the environment, and we wish him the best on his journey! Congratulations, Mr. Jackfruit and thank you for all that you gave to our kids and community!
“Over the past two years, my time with CommunityGrows has blessed me with a tremendous amount of growth, warmth, and happiness. The team at CommunityGrows is truly a family and I feel so grateful to have worked with them and to have gained lifelong friends. These friendships have inspired me to be the best Garden Educator and Site Manager I can be, and words can’t express how grateful I am to have spent been a part of such a loving and supportive team. This has been a dream job for me, and I’m so fortunate to have had the opportunity to offer children tools for the cultivation of their own happiness and health by connecting them to the miracles of gardening!”
— Jay Jordan