CORVALLIS, Ore. - Teens interested in participating in a garden-based Oregon State University research project called Producing for the Future can sign up now for limited placements in Corvallis and Sweet Home.

Participants will earn up to $1,200 for completing the program, which runs from February through August, and will spend up to 10 hours per week learning basic research skills, working in the gardens and handling produce sales. Low-income persons ages 16-20 are invited to apply.

Recruitment meetings will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, at Westside Community Church, 4000 S.W. Western Blvd., Corvallis, and from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, at Sweet Home United Methodist Church, 845 6th Ave., Sweet Home.

The project is funded by the National Institutes of Health to explore health benefits of community-based garden programs.

"Our gardeners are getting lots of physical exercise and access to healthy foods," said Leslie Richards, assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences and leader of the program. "We focus on building a supportive community, learning how to grow vegetables organically, and preparing foods grown in the garden."

The gardens are located at two local churches, Westside Community Church in southwest Corvallis and Sweet Home United Methodist Church, and have been in operation for a year.

Richards said participants will harvest produce for sale at local farmers' markets and other customer-direct avenues.

"Learning business planning and marketing strategies are also part of the project," she said. "This project uses a Community Based Participatory Research design, which means that participants are both research subjects and researchers, giving them additional skills in deciding what to measure to document outcomes."

To qualify, participants must earn less than two times the poverty level. For a single person, this means earning less than $1,815, or for a family of four, less than $3,725.

Adults can participate as nonpaid volunteers. For information, visit

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Leslie Richards, 888-478-3011