The garden association is also of great benefit to young people

Finland’s largest garden association, Hyötykasviyhdistys ry. was founded in 1978. The basic idea was to help urbanized people to reconnect with nature.

Annala garden is open to everyone, an idyllic park area in the birthplace of Helsinki, Old Town. In Annala, in the yellow wooden house of the Hyötykasvi association, courses and events open to everyone are organized. Theme gardens introduce useful plants and organic cover farming. The themed gardens area consists of a kitchen vegetable garden, herb garden, dye plants, medicinal plants of Topelius’ time, a butterfly garden and plants used for tying. The complex also includes a historic winter greenhouse, or orangery.

The Hyötykasvi association is also of great benefit to young people. The Hyötykasvi ry. association has hired young people for many summers with the Summer Job Voucher. The Hyötykasvi has also offered summer jobs to Plan’s young people and many others who would not easily find summer jobs on the free market. Like a jungle drum, the reputation of a good summer job spreads among youth. The youth finds the Hyötykasvi association themselves and know how to ask for summer jobs and make a job application. Many will return next summer, as well as this summer.

The employees of the Hyötykasvi association said that young people are part of the working community. At the beginning, the young people are introduced to the Hyötykasvi association, the Annala garden and their own work tasks, and they get their own work supervisor. Even though they have their own job supervisor who supports and guides them in their work, the young people do the same things as everyone else: from gardening to kitchen work. If the job supervisor is away, others take care of the young people. Annala also often has gardening students on work placements, who learn by instructing summer workers in the care of the garden. The ecological principles of the association are taught along with work, so that it becomes a way of life. In gardening, when you prepare the soil, weed, plant, grow and nurture, you also learn about the cycle of nature.

The Hyötykasvi association has also benefited young people.

Young people are different, some are hardworking, and others need more encouragement and guidance. Although there have been problems, not everyone has been able to keep working hours, some think that certain jobs belong to “women”. But by doing, you learn that work is not dependent on gender and keep what’s agreed upon, including working hours. There have also been hard-working young people who had to be reminded to take a break. Sometimes, when the economic situation has allowed it, some hard-working young people have been offered a 4-week working summer job. There are also wonderful memories, like the young people of Afghan background who made lunch together every day, put a blanket on the grass and ate together. It was a matter of honour for them to do everything as well as they could. So, communities have been born and young people have learned a lot at Annala.

In general, Annala has more summer employees. But, at the moment of the interview there are only two Summer Job Vouchers summer workers working in the garden. Boys prepare the ground, the trees provide shade and the mosquitoes are the only object of their annoyance. One of them has been working in Annala’s garden for the second summer already, because the cousin also received a Summer Voucher this year, so they decided together to apply for summer jobs at the utility plant association. The second work week is now over for the cousins and the outdoor work has been nice. The cousins are also happy to apply for summer jobs at the utility plant association next summer.

The Hyötykasvi association has been satisfied with the Summer Vouchers, although it wonders how the Summer Vouchers of the capital regions can differ so much from each other. The summer voucher return system is praised, it is so convenient. The young people will probably benefit from the Hyötykasvi association in the coming summers as well, and hopefully also the other way around.