Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture: Growing a followingJuly 3, 2014
Local kids getting the dirt on the origin of food.
When Adam Saunders talks about supporting community growth, he’s not making hay.
In fact, the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture’s mission is pretty familiar to Lucky’s: Promote good, fresh food, share the bounty with others and help neighbors learn the origins of what they eat.
“Lucky’s graciously made a $10,000 gift to help us further our hands-on garden education programming at our Urban Farm and outreach work throughout the community,” says Adam. “This spring, we had hundreds of students visit our 1.3 acre Urban Farm with their classes or extracurricular clubs.”
When they’re not busy converting kids into avid farming fans, Adam and his crew are training a new generation of potential farmers. In fact, “Six ‘Garden Greenhorns’ completed a half season apprenticeship with our Farm Manager, learning a wide range of production skills,” he says.
What’s next? Adam says the group is currently exploring installing container gardens outside the Lucky’s store in Columbia. They plan to demonstrate the greening of a paved area and to teach volunteers about organic food production.
What’s more, resulting produce will be donated to area youth in need. “Our Opportunity Gardens program has helped 35 low-income families establish home gardens,” says Saunders. Mentorship support has also been provided to all 96 families in the program for three years as they climb the learning curve of home gardening. They also get a chance to learn by doing and pushing themselves to grow more and new things.
And those shifts in consciousness kind of grows on everyone involved.
“The amazement in kids’ eyes when they see a bright orange carrot come out of the ground or when they pet a chicken for the first time is a truly wonderful thing,” says Adam. “These experiences help people gain an appreciation for food, which translates into lifestyle decisions that will last a lifetime.”
That’s not small potatoes.
For more information about Lucky’s Doing Good program or to apply for your own grant, please visit Our Community page.