- Education and Training: youth education
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
- Soil Management: soil quality/health
- Sustainable Communities: urban agriculture
During the summer of 2015 we will be launching our “Healthy Growing, Healthy Eating” youth gardening program for children at Park Village, a low income housing complex. The program will teach children how to start and maintain an environmentally and financially sustainable gardening enterprise, as well as how food systems work.
After growing the produce, the students will have the opportunity to sell their harvested produce at the nearby Gateway 105 Farmers’ Market. The students will have their table in at the farmers market throughout August and September to sell their produce.
DETAILED PROJECT PLAN AND TIMELINE
The Famicos Green team consists of Veronica Walton, urban gardener and Gateway 105 Farmers’ Market
Coordinator; Erica Robinson, Neighborhood Project Manager; Alisha Conway, Sustainability Project Manager; and a yet to be named Summer Green Team intern. Beginning in April, Ms. Walton will instruct the classes while the remaining Green Team members act as support staff. The classes will be both in the class room and in the garden, weather permitting. Following spring classes, the students will maintain the garden with technical support from the Green Team. There will also be guest speakers throughout the summer months to talk to the children about the importance of fresh produce and healthy eating, careers in market gardening, and the benefits of community gardening.
Spring classes will be an introduction to sustainable urban gardening and will focus on four main topics:
- Water quality and conservation: Students will learn about the importance of water conservation and the detrimental effects of storm water runoff. Student will assemble and install two rain barrels onsite.
- Plant selection: Students will learn how climate zones, soil type, and location influence seed selection.
- Soil quality: Students will learn how soil quality affects crops and how to amend soil. The students will also learn how to compost in a Dirt Digester compost bin.
- Plant care and harvesting : Students will learn how to maintain healthy crops, including proper watering, organic pest and disease control, and proper pruning techniques for optimal growth and food production.
- Late March - Make repairs to existing raised beds
- Early April – Order gardening supplies and instructional materials
- April 28 – Class 1: Orientation
- May 5 – Class 2: Water
- May 12 – Class 3: Soil
- May 19 – Class 4: Plant selection and planting
- May 26 – Class 5: Plant maintenance
- June – August: During this time the Green Team will organize gardening days three times per week. We will offer technical support for students to maintain the garden as they were instructed during their Spring workshops.
- June 24 – Instructional meeting with Sandra Robertson, founder of Ashbury Sprouts Community Garden
- July 29 – Instructional meeting with Gloria Jalil, local urban market gardener
- June – September: Each week the students will sell their produce at the nearby Gateway 105 Farmers’ Market. This will be an opportunity to raise awareness of the program by teaching other the skills they have learned. All proceeds from the sales of the produce will go back into the program for next year.
The students will have workshops facilitated by Green Team member (urban farmer and storm water management instructor) and Gateway 105 Farmers’ market coordinator, Veronica Walton.
The instructional material will be based on standards of quality practice for service-learning. We will be utilizing curricula and information from Ohio State University Extension, Cuyahoga County Soil and Water Conservation District, National Wildlife Federation, the National Resources Conservation Services and the Cuyahoga Solid Waste District. The following articles and instructional booklets will be used: Garden Basics facts sheets, Composting facts sheets, “Where does our water go?”, Community gardening workbooks, square foot gardening techniques, integrated pest management, and certified wildlife habitat lessons.
Green Team members Erica Robinson, Neighborhood Project Manager; Alisha Conway, Sustainability Project Manager; and a yet to be named Summer Green Team intern will assist Ms. Walton during instruction. We will also be in charge of thrice weekly hour (minimum) long visits to provide technical support to the children.
Urban Market gardener Gloria Jalil will host an informational session to talk to the students about a future career as a market gardener. Sandra Robertson, founder of the Ashbury Sprouts community garden will talk to the students about the importance of community gardens and their benefits.
We also have a strong relationship with the Ohio State University Extension program and can turn to them for additional guidance and support.
The Famicos Green team currently publishes a twice yearly Newsletter and manages several social media pages including a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page. Highlights, photos, and accomplishments will be posted on our social media pages on an ongoing basis throughout the spring and summer. Additionally, Famicos Foundation publishes, in print and electronically, a quarterly Newsletter with an eight hundred and fifty person readership. The newsletter is read by hundreds of key educators, politicians, business professionals, and local residents. A synopsis of this program as well as an overview of accomplishments will be posted in fall newsletter.
During the last instructional class with Veronica Walton the students will create posters detailing what they have learned and/or what they are excited to grow this season. The posters will be displayed at their booth at the Farmers’ Market.
STUDENT AND COMMUNITY IMPACT
This project will reach a minimum of 25 students each week. During instruction we will measure learning with pre- and post-tests. We will also measure qualitatively with a poster project at the end of the class and, most importantly, the students on going ability to demonstrate their skills in the garden. Additionally, the experience of selling their produce at a farmer’s market will let the students see farming as a possible career choice. Interest in gardening can be measured by the students’ ability to autonomously run the garden and their continued demonstrated interest following the conclusion of the first year of the program.
It is our hope that the benefits of this program will trickle down to the families as well as the greater community.
Following the program the students will have an inexpensive way to provide fresh healthy food for themselves and their families. They will be able to share their skills and knowledge, as well as the literal fruits of their labor, with their friends and family. Measuring greater community impact can be difficult, but it can be approximated by measuring sales at the farmers market, responses from our social media posts, communicated interest from outside entities, and parent response.