Article by, Min Seo

Captain Planet Foundation and FoodCorps crew members took part in Atlanta’s MLK Day of Service by installing a youth garden in Capitol View Community Garden. After harvesting and cleaning carrots and turnips from the last planting season, the team worked with community volunteers to build youth garden beds and plant them with chard and mustard greens.  FoodCorps members taught participating kids how to plant and harvest crops, delivering garden-based learning on the spot as their gardens were being created.

Supports from a wide range of CPF’s partner organizations have made the garden installation possible. Firstly, Atlanta City Council Member Joyce Sheperd and Keep Atlanta Beautiful Commission (KAB), a non-profit organization promoting environmental disposal, contacted CPF to build garden beds targeting youth programming. Then, Stephanie Stuckey-Benfield, the current Chief Resilience Officer of City of Atlanta, contributed $2500 for the cost of the garden installation and other program materials, including curriculum and supply kits, garden kits, mobile cooking cart, and training. These two consecutive actions initiated the new garden project. Meanwhile, Moses with KAB led the design and installation of an outdoor garden sink, which will be used to clean garden products after harvest and to prepare for food for garden events and classes. The sink was built with reclaimed materials from Life Cycle Building Center. Besides the people and the organization mentioned above, City of Atlanta’s Office of Sustainability, Department of Parks & Recreation, and Victory Outreach Church joined and backed up the project.

Capitol View Community Garden is the place made by its neighborhood residents about 20 years ago with their desire to transform a depressed vacant lot into a vibrant and thriving place for the community and food production. This time, in order to inspire green food education into the community garden, CPF and its community partners collaborated together. They have hoped that their interactive outreach would endow people in the community with a sense of power to create something future-oriented. Kyla Van Deusen, Program Manager of Project Learning Garden, says, “Although Project Learning Garden was created to be a school-based program, the major keys to success for a school garden apply to community gardens as well.” For those who want to start a community garden, she advises that they have a strong garden team of 3 to 5 people committed to the long-term success of the garden, make the garden meaningful to as many people as possible by encompassing both the youth and adults, and ask for help from their community like Council Member Sheperd did.

Briefly speaking about CPF’s partnerships with the community after the installation, PLG program plans to get support from FoodCorps with some summer programs at the youth garden. Also, it is working with City of Atlanta’s Office of Sustainability for the proposal to partner in workforce development opportunities around the Browns Mill Food Forest.