WORCESTER, Mass. — The Regional Environmental Council hosted their annual Garden Festival and plant sale this weekend.

Over 300 community members from across Central Massachusetts purchased locally grown seedlings. The REC said every plant purchased helps grow community gardens all over Worcester, bringing a critical source of healthy food to hundreds of families. One of the gardens benefitting from the plant sale is the YouthGrow garden in Worcester's Main South, which is giving Worcester public school students employment opportunities.

"Usually, a lot of the youth do stay on when they're like 14 until graduation," said REC team member Erika Akerson. "It's a development program as well, so there's a lot of opportunities for leadership roles. And so the youth are pretty involved with hiring new youth, leading the summer six week session."

Organizers said they raised over $17,000 this year.