In one of the classes the other day, there was a student that was cutting kale and mustard greens in one of the rows. After he brought some of the produce to the bucket we were using, he asked me, "Why aren't we cutting any of the broccoli?" I told him that it wasn't ready, but then he pointed at some kale with ruffled leaves and demanded, "Well, isn't that broccoli ready to be picked?" I realized that he had no idea what broccoli was, so I told him to follow me over to the row with broccoli and cauliflower. I started to pull away the center leaves to show the tiny broccoli flower buds starting to develop. I explained to him that the part of broccoli that we eat is the flowers. After being told this, he wanted to know all about the other plants we were growing. He started going from row to row asking about the details of each of the plants that were growing. At first, he may have been trying to creatively avoid having to work, but in the end he learned a lot about the garden and the plants he was helping to grow.
-Travis Delongchamp

The garden program at MMMS has been production for three years. For the past two years the garden has been overseen by one service member and one site supervisor.   The program focuses on delivering garden based education and providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables for Mabelvale students, faculty and staff. 

The member will be serve with students who come from low income households all around the South West Little Rock area. The focus of the garden based education is to increase the students knowledge of math and science through experiential learning. It is also important to improve the literacy of these students with each garden lesson. The produce grown in the garden is used for either recipe tastings with students or given to the cafeteria to serve in school lunches. 

Partner organizations include the Home Depot and Centennial Bank located down the street from the school. In addition the program has worked with many online and local vendors to get donations to the garden and it is expected that these relationships be maintained by the service member. 

The garden at Mabelvale is made up of three garden plots and one greenhouse with four raised beds totaling about one acre of land. The garden is located in a courtyard area inside the gates of the school. The greenhouse is located in the back parking lot between the school building and the sports fields, and is no more than a one minute walk from the greenhouse. The main garden has forty beds total and the greenhouse has four raised beds. The small plot closest to the gymnasium has four beds and the small plot closest to the main garden has seven beds. 

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Travis Delongchamp

As a child, Travis always liked digging in the dirt, and his love of gardening started with digging enormous holes in his father's garden. Fortunately, his father was a very patient man and focused this interest in gardening in a more productive way. After graduating from high school in White Hall, Arkansas Travis moved to Fayetteville to attend college, where he was deprived of having a large garden full of fresh vegetables in the backyard. Eventually, the need to garden became too great, and after pursuing a career in photography, he decided to come back to digging in the dirt. He is serving at Mabelvale Magnet Middle School and hopes to inspire youth to enjoy gardening and eating fresh vegetables

 

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Kristy Brownell

Kristy Brownell graduated in 2011 from Ursinus College with a BA/BS in Anthropology and Psychology.  This is her second year serving as an AmeriCorps member at MMMS.  She loves working outside in the garden with students and cooking DGS recipes in class.

Tuesday the 21st. .