|Aalryah Doucet poses for a photo with her certificate of completion with SU Ag Center's School Garden Program Director Tiffany Franklin (left) and the program's Garden Instructor Stephanie Elwood.|
Baton Rouge, LA – Nearly 40 middle and high school students received certificates of completion for participating in the Southern University Ag Center’s School Garden Program.
Students from Southern University Laboratory School, Scotlandville Magnet High School and Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Middle Academy, were honored during a graduation ceremony held at the SU Ag Center on May 4.
The yearlong program titled, “Eradicating Food Deserts through School Gardens,” was developed by the SU Ag Center in response to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) identifying Baton Rouge as a food desert; means there is limited access to fresh produce.
The center applied for and received funding through a USDA/National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Capacity Building Grant. Through this funding a training series dubbed, “Plant it-Grow it, Try it-Like it,” was introduced to teach students basic, transferable gardening techniques from the SU Ag Center's self-produced Community Garden Curriculum. Students were also given ownership of school garden spaces to ensure easy access to fresh produce.
Since 2016 marks the final year of the program, a teacher from each participating school was presented with a copy of the Ag Center’s curriculum to ensure that the program continues to thrive within the schools.
Six students from the schools also discussed their experiences during the program and expressed how the program and its garden instructor, Stephanie Elwood, impacted their lives.
“When I starting the program I wasn’t interested in anything Ms. Stephanie was talking about,” said Aalryah Doucet. “But the program and Ms. Stephanie have taught me so much that I have decided to major in Agriculture at Southern University. Thank you Ms. Stephanie, she added.
For information about the SU Ag Center’s School Gardening Program, contact Tiffany Franklin, Project Director or Stephanie Elwood, Garden Instructor at 225-771-2242.