Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) avid IYG blog reader,

It's time for a showdown of epic proportions...get your game face on!

It’s time for a showdown of epic proportions…get your game face on!

After a lengthy nap, a few difficult final exams, and a couple of well-deserved vacation days, our youth and mentors were back at full force for the start of the much-anticipated IYG Halalapalooza 2013 kick-off. Immediately after Asr prayer at the ISGL, our youth and parents were given the official calendar of activities at the Halalapalooza 2013 kick-off meeting. After lifting several young men’s jaws from the ground (they were that pleasantly surprised by the list of activities!), our IYG mentors released our excited parents from the kick-off meeting.

We began our first summer activity with a question that delighted each of our participants – what is your favorite food? Most mentioned a spectrum of junk food (including potato chips and pizza) while one young lad surprisingly answered “STRAWBERRIES!” Interestingly enough we rarely stop to think where our food comes from (of course the ultimate source of sustenance comes from Allah, azza wa jal, but how does our food reach the marketplace?). Many of the raw materials needed to make our favorite dishes involve months of hard labor on farmland, tilling the field, planting the crop, praying for enough rain/water to nourish the crop, harvesting the crop, and transporting it to the grocery store. To give our youth the chance to experience the delight of harvesting their own crops, we gave them the challenge of creating their very-own IYG Community Garden. With a little bit of instruction from our mentors, our youth were given the basic ingredients to plant their own mini-garden. What crops did they plant? Well take a look below to find out!

Yes Mohamed we know empty pots are not cool...I wonder what is going in them?

Yes Mohamed we know empty pots are not cool…I wonder what is going in them?

Ohhhh SOIIIILLLLLL!!! Mohamed, from the Soil Committee, carefully adds the first layer of soil on pot #1.

Ohhhh SOIIIILLLLLL!!! Mohamed, from the Soil Committee, carefully adds the first layer of soil in pot #1.

...Raad brings a lota of water to feed our thirsty soil...

…Raad brings a lota of water to feed our thirsty soil…

Ahmed picks out a strawberry plant...

Ahmed picks out a strawberry plant…

...and the landscaping duo of Raad and Mohamed plant their special veggies in their pot.

…and the landscaping duo of Raad and Mohamed plant their special veggies in their pot.

Meanwhile Abdelrahman gets to work on our second mystery pot of veggies...

Meanwhile Abdelrahman gets to work on our second mystery pot of veggies…

...as Shujath drops fresh water on top of our happy soil...

…as Shujath drops fresh water on top of our happy soil…

...and under the direction of mentor Oguz, peppers are planted for the season!

…and under the direction of mentor Oguz, peppers are planted for the season!

DONE! Our beautiful youth-driven community garden is finished. Our talented youth have planted a wide variety of crops from jalepeno peppers to watermelon!

DONE! Our beautiful youth-driven community garden is finished. Our talented youth have planted a wide variety of crops from jalepeno peppers to watermelon!

Ummm we're hungry...can we get some snack now, please?!?

Ummm we’re hungry…can we get some snack now, please?!?

Great work IYG youth! We’ll check back in a few weeks in shaa Allah to see if our young plants are bearing any ripe fruits or veggies. Until then, young men don’t forget your turn for watering the garden!

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