Home Volume 2, Issue 3 Community Engagement from the Ground Up: An Interdisciplinary Service-Learning After-School Garden Program

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   THE RIGHT TO FOOD  

POWER, POLICY, AND POLITICS

IN THE 21ST CENTURY


June 16–17, 2015

Burlington, Vermont

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Community Engagement from the Ground Up:

An Interdisciplinary Service-Learning After-School Garden Program

by Shari E. Millera,*, Jung Sun Leeb, and David Berlec

http://dx.doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2012.023.013, pp. 121–135

 

Abstract

Through the vehicle of community engagement, and with a commitment to ecological sustainability, the University of Georgia has made a series of efforts to support a growing local food movement through education, research, and service. This paper focuses on the development of a comprehensive after-school garden program with direct links to the university via interdisciplinary service-learning mechanisms. The university is located in a county with one of the highest poverty rates in the nation. With a commitment to creating innovative, community-empowered approaches to addressing poverty and related food insecurity, an interdisciplinary group of university faculty, in collaboration with community partners, came together to develop a sustainable after-school garden program. Students from three disciplines (foods and nutrition, horticulture, and social work) are placed in after-school sites to work with elementary school students to establish, support, and grow food gardens. This paper discusses the development process of the program. Anecdotal successes, challenges, and opportunities between, within, and across various systems are explored.

 

Keywords: community engagement, food insecurity, Higher Education Challenge Grant, interdisciplinary collaboration, local food systems, school gardens, service-learning, sustainability

 

Affiliations

a,* Shari E. Miller, Assistant Professor; BSW Program Director; School of Social Work; University of Georgia; 310 East Campus Road; Athens, GA 30602 USA; +1-706-542-2328; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

b Jung Sun Lee, Assistant Professor; College of Family and Consumer Sciences; Foods and Nutrition; University of Georgia; 129 Barrow Hall; 115 DW Brooks Drive; Athens, GA 30602 USA; +1-706-542-6783; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

c David Berle, Associate Professor; College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences; Horticulture Department; University of Georgia; 1111 Plant Science Building; Athens, GA 30602 USA; +1-706-542-0771; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 
 

Banner photos include a Cape Cod cranberry bog; a cranberry “screen house” used to grade fresh cranberries; farmland near Lake Placid, NY, in the Adirondack Mountains; Montmorency cherry trees on the Mission Peninsula of northern Michigan; the historic Round Barn in the South Mountain Apple Belt of Adams County, Pennsylvania; the “Sea of Grapes” district of the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, near Erie, Penn; a field of cabbages near Shortsville, NY, home to one of the world’s largest sauerkraut factories. All photos copyright by Duncan Hilchey.

 

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