Initiated in 2011, Uptown Summer is a five-week summer 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 in the field of the arts and sciences. Through this program, local youth learn to care for the garden, harvest vegetables, experiment in the kitchen, and document progress and creatively share their experience from the program using media arts, photo, video, and audio technology. Students gain the skills and knowledge to create their own narratives through different modes of storytelling, giving voice to young artists.
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 revitalize it. These practices of sustainability and environmental science also place a focus on the importance of nutrition, creating an awareness about proximity to food sources and putting real meaning behind the saying “health is wealth!”