Mission, Goals & History

Mission & Vision:

The Mission of Loveland Youth Gardeners is to cultivate job & life skills, environmental stewardship and service in youth facing barriers to success, by building healthy relationships with people, agriculture, and community. Our Vision is for all youth to realize their value and potential and be equipped to lead a healthy and productive life.

Our Goals:

  • Develop job and life skills
  • Promote active volunteerism in youth through service to the community
  • Encourage environmental stewardship by educating students about natural resource and conservation practices

Our Values:

  • Positive relationships
  • Respect for self, others, and environment
  • Community Engagement
  • Compassion
  • Commitment
  • Diversity
  • Collaboration
  • Interdependence


Loveland Youth Gardeners was the vision of its founding director, Joanna Rago, a Clinical Social Worker who believed that working with young people to cultivate skills and strengths through growing an organic garden would benefit youth, the environment, and the community.  In May of 1996 with the help of Thompson School District, City of Loveland Department of Solid Waste, and the Larimer County Master Gardener Program of CSU Extension the first pilot intervention program began to serve Loveland area youth with emotional and behavioral challenges. Loveland Youth Gardeners received 501(c)3 nonprofit status in 2000 and has grown to include four youth education programs (Youth Gardening Program, Leaf Out Program, Enterprise Internship Program, Branch Out Program) serving young people ages 3-21, as well as numerous community service projects, including the Loveland chapter of Plant a Row for the Hungry (since 2005).