- Education and Training: youth education
Funding from NCR-SARE will be used to build youth-friendly raised-bed gardens in The Foodbank's community garden space. Hands-on educational lessons for youth aged 6-17 will be offered and will focus on land stewardship, sustainable garden practices, and the impact that fresh produce gardening can make in our community's efforts to solve hunger and improve quality of life for food insecure residents of the Miami Valley.
Detailed Project Plan and Timeline
The Foodbank will educate youth on sustainable gardening practices through hands-on educational opportunities that teach students how to sow, maintain, and harvest Ohio fresh produce crops on-site. Participating youth will learn basic produce gardening practices such as how to properly identify and use garden tools, the benefits of and how to compost, the proper name and use of native produce, as well as the benefits of growing fresh produce. The Foodbank's community garden is located in a food desert. 130,200 residents of our community report food insecurity.
Youth will be educated on the three pillars of sustainability in the following ways:
Economic viability: Through this program, students will be introduced to local farmers and others in agricultural careers who will have the opportunity to discuss horticultural and environmental sciences degrees and careers. Farmers will share what a day in the life of a farmer is like.
Land stewardship: The Foodbank's community garden is located on three acres of previous industrial property. Students will learn about the redevelopment of the property and the positive outcomes of reintroducing green space.
Social responsibility: Students will partake in harvesting fresh produce that will go directly into the hands of hungry families in the Dayton region. Curriculum will include lessons on food deserts, the impact that fresh produce makes in one's diet, and how small community gardens can improve our local community's abandoned and blighted property problems.
- April-August, 2016: Program kick off upon approval of funding. Youth educator will begin development of marketing materials, development of pre-and-post tests, identifying school groups and summer youth programs to participate, purchasing materials necessary to build NCR-SARE garden beds, creating curriculum, and identifying local farmers to participate in the program.
- September-December, 2016: Participating schools and summer programs will be identified. Pre-program surveys will be administered. Youth will build NCR-SARE garden beds. Winter cover crop will be planted by youth. Curriculum to include "what is a winter cover crop?", "improving our community one garden lot at a time", and "garden tools 101".
- January-February, 2017: Winter months, garden is inactive. Students will participate in the following curriculum, "what does a farmer do in the winter?".
- March-November, 2017: Youth will participate in seasonal planting, maintaining, and harvesting of garden beds. Curriculum to include, "Ohio's native crops" and "fresh produce and foodbanking". Youth will participate in distributing fresh produce to food insecure families. Post-program survey will be administered.
- December, 2017-April, 2018: Survey data will be analyzed, program feedback will be solicited from school administrators and summer program leaders. Winter cover crop will be planted by Youth Educator and beds will be prepped for spring 2018 growing season. Reporting will be completed and submitted to NCR-SARE.
Other program resources for this project include:
- Victor Smith: Retired agronomist and Foodbank donor. Mr. Smith has been engaged in the garden project since it's inception. Mr. Smith will participate in the program's agricultural career curriculum.
- Joe Vorndehes: Owner of micro-farm, Model Acre Farms, Joe will participate in the program's agricultural career curriculum.
- Ohio State University Extension Office: Assistance from the OSU Extension Office will be sought to create program curriculum.
- Five Rivers MetroParks (FVMP): The local parks system in the Miami Valley, FRMP's assistance will be sought out to create program curriculum surrounding composting.
- Michael Malone: Owner of Hungry Toad Farm, Michael will participate in the program's agricultural career curriculum and will discuss organic farming.
The Foodbank will share key learnings and program outcomes in the following ways:
- Verbal promotion in the community: The Youth Educator will include information about the program in all community talks.
- Social media: Program photos and marketing materials will be displayed on the organization's social media accounts.
- Artwork: The Foodbank will work with program youth to create artwork that reflects what students have learned through the program. Proposed art projects include a reflection on land stewardship. Students will be given notecards to draw or paint their interpretation of the properties' progression from industrial site, to abandoned brownfield, to green space.
All outreach communications and projects will be made available to NCR-SARE and included in the project's final report.
Student and Community Impact
The Foodbanking and Farming project will impact local youth by providing hands-on educational experiences that are designed to educate youth, reduce community blight, and solve hunger in the Miami Valley. A majority of youth in our community come from urban communities and have little to no experience with gardening. Participants will be exposed to fresh produce gardening, horticultural and environmental sciences careers, and the problem of hunger in our community. Students will be encouraged to help make a difference in our community by growing fresh produce in The Foodbank's garden space. All harvested produce will be distributed to local hungry families.
Impact will be measured through the use of pre-and-post test surveys. Surveys will be administered at the start of the program and again at the conclusion of the program. The Foodbank will also collect a total number of participating students and will solicit feedback from participating administrators and summer program leaders.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Impact local youth by providing hands-on educational experiences that are designed to educate youth about fresh produce gardening, horticultural and environmental sciences careers, and hunger in the Miami Valley.
- Encourage students to help make a difference in our community by growing fresh produce in The Foodbank's garden space, which will be harvested and distributed to local hungry families.
- Share key learnings and program outcomes through community presentations, social media, and student-created artwork.