FoodCorps Service Member Profile: Bang Tran

Project Learning Garden schools Bang worked with:
Drew Charter, Atlanta

MLK Middle, APS
Beecher Hills, APS

In September 2015, we began our second year as a FoodCorps Service Site. Working alongside educators and community leaders, our FoodCorps service members partner with Project Learning Garden (PLG) schools to help teachers bring their schools garden to life. Most often, you will find our team helping with garden harvests and tasting events, modeling how to use the gardens as an onsite learning laboratory for teaching standards, or working with after school garden clubs.

Bang Tran was so inspired by his students last year, he came back for a second year with Captain Planet Foundation and FoodCorps. He’s working with Drew Charter Elementary, Martin Luther King Middle, and Beecher Hills Elementary schools in the Atlanta area.

He is also the lead FoodCorps member for the Captain Planet-led “Garden to Cafeteria” pilot project in partnership with Atlanta Public Schools and Sodexo. In that project, he also works closely with the Urban Gardening Clubs at Maynard Jackson High School and King Middle to grow fresh produce that is being featured on the salad bars at the school cafeterias!

Last year, Bang’s most rewarding moment with the students at King Middle was in their cooking club – trying new vegetables, learning how to cook, and ultimately using garden produce to make a three-course dinner for their parents at the end of the year. Bang majored in Environmental Science and spent quite a bit of time in school working in a pollinator ecology lab. After realizing his interests were more in the field rather than in the lab, he started to explore what Atlanta had to offer in the local food scene. In ten years he sees himself in a trout stream with a pup by his side, or heading down a mountain on a bike, or in a noodle house “slingin’ bowls of noodles just the way pop used to make”.

What is your motivation to work with school gardens?
To get students excited about being outside, learning about the environment, growing and eating good food!

Favorite quote from student or teacher:
“I never knew vegetables could taste so good!”
-7th Grade Student

Favorite veggie and why:
Okra. It’s just so awesome how it’s used in cooking in so many different cultures!

Advice to anyone teaching in a garden:
It’s okay to mess up! Every mistake is a learning experience for both student and teacher.

Your favorite garden activity or recipe:
Green eggs. Spinach and eggs blended up and then scrambled. It’s an iconic story about trying new things, and is so simple to make.

To get a better sense of just how amazing Bang’s contributions to his schools have been, view a few of his incredible projects via this PLG Facebook post:

Facebook post