Initiated in 2011, Uptown Summer is a youth employment program combining art, science and community activism through environmentally themed multimedia projects at the Sanctuary for Independent Media. Weekly programming is planned and led by local educators and volunteers from diverse fields and backgrounds. Through this program, local youth learn to investigate urban ecosystems, care for the garden, harvest vegetables, and creatively document and share their experience using media technology. Students gain the skills and knowledge to create their own narratives through different modes of storytelling.
Through their work with Collard City Growers programming, participants learn the history of their urban environment, the harsh pollutants that the North Troy landscape has withstood throughout years of industrialization, and how they can work to ecologically revitalize the area. Through this diverse programming, Uptown Summer encourages youth in developing agency in nutrition, community sustainability, and media production.