NC State Parks Scholars at the Well Fed Community Garden

Three NC State Parks Scholars’ Civic Engagement project at Irregardless’ Well Fed Community Garden

This year’s Parks Scholar students are designing marketing strategies to attract all members of Raleigh’s community and especially NC State students to engage with the Well Fed Community Garden. A thriving model of urban agriculture, the WFCG is entering it’s forth season of growing organic produce for the Irregardless Cafe and donating 20% to the community.

The Well Fed Garden’s Manager Jenn Sanford Johnson attracted three Park Scholar students to do their ‘Civic Engagement Initiatives CEI promoting Urban Agriculture and all it’s benefits. This year’s students who are sophomores are Deirdre An, an Environmental Sciences and Plant Biology major, Spencer Schlenker, studying Chemical Engineering and Jack Mckenzie majoring in Biological Sciences. Their group mentor is Annie Lopez, a Junior Parks Scholar, who is majoring in Biological and Agricultural Engineering.

Parks Scholars enjoying a meal at the Irregardless Cafe - from left Deirdre An, Jenn Sanford Johnson - Garden Manager, Austin (Deirdre's boyfriend),  Anya Gordon, Cafe proprietress, Spencer and Jack.

Parks Scholars enjoying a meal at the Irregardless Cafe – from left Deirdre An, Jenn Sanford Johnson – Garden Manager, Austin (Deirdre’s boyfriend), Anya Gordon, Cafe proprietress, Spencer and Jack.

With their goal to engage the community in Urban Agriculture and the Well Fed Community Garden, Deirdre is designing and creating marketing materials for the WFCG as well as bringing in environmental groups on Campus to volunteer. She will also be helping execute the creation of the vermiculture-composting site on the Garden.

Spencer’s role is to bring more high school and student volunteers and will also coordinate work days and instructional activities to help younger students learn about the garden and what it offers.

Jack is working with University groups at NC State to bring in more student volunteers. He is also designing a volunteer system to maximize the potentials of each potential gardener’s potential and organize a Work Day for the University Scholars group on campus.

The mission of the Parks Scholarships Program is to bring exceptional students to NC State, selecting students based on outstanding accomplishments and potential in scholarship, leadership, service and character. The program develops and supports these scholars to make lifelong contributions to the community, state and nation. The Civic Engagement Initiatives in the Sophomore year of studies introduces Park Scholars to community needs and how organizations operate to address those needs, create beneficial community change and teach Park Scholars skills they can use to make lifelong community contributions.

The community needs addressed by the Well Fed Community Garden project are:

  • Lack of food security in the Raleigh community
  • Lack of education in a wide range of subjects such as how to grow and obtain healthy, affordable food options for students and their families
  • Disconnection between consumers and the food system – where our food and nourishment come from
  • Desire for food sovereignty – the community’s right to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.

This is the second year that the Well Fed Community Garden has hosted NC State Parks Scholars Civic Engagement Initiatives. Last year’s scholars developed a Water Catchment System for the Garden.

Irregardless
lubana@irregardless.com