Sidney Lanier’s Story
Everyone deserves to have access to safe organic food. This is the corner stone of our intent within this project. Within the past year, Co-Director of Collective Progression and manager of the Sidney Lanier School Garden Initiative Russell Anderson became a Master Gardener, initiated this organic school garden, and has partners in fellow young people, many of them graduates from the University of Florida Horticulture-Science Program & the Alachua County Master Gardener Program. All in the hopes of promoting organic food, sustainability, and collaborative business throughout the community.
The movement back towards “local” is doubling every year. Many young people are taking up the “old ways.” Like any crop that you are trying to produce, in this case conscious and proactive citizens of the world, you must nurture the development. This is especially the case with the sustainability movement.
It’s something everyone could learn. The more people that take interest, the less pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, fertilizers, and other environment/soil polluting chemicals are sold and in use. Ideally crushing demand so that these industries are forced to take broad measures to change their formulas, reduce their impact, and/or in some cases disband in entirety.
Our grant request is for the amount of $1,200.
Those funds will be used to rebuild aging raised beds, equipment, Seed, starters, supplies, and fixtures. Fixtures include: handrails, magnifying-glass screens, Braille descriptions, and local plants to help establish habitat for native songbirds. Construction of additional features to sensory and handicapped accessible gardens to ensure full inclusion of all persons, and enhanced infrastructure to permit wheelchair access and meet other accessibility concerns. The goals of this design and layout provide a stimulating journey through the senses, heightening awareness; bringing positive learning experiences into the development of the Sidney Lanier Garden educational curriculum.
This space will be an educational platform for the students of Sidney Lanier and local area residents on the process of food growth, collaboration, and the building of community. (Where applicable) Students will be growing food for the campus lunches, events, and celebrations.
Networking platform for neighbors and neighborhood residents.
Increased community stewardship and appreciation by area residents.
Long term, this garden will create a potential additional revenue source for the school, which happens to be struggling financially. They intend to sell produce and packaged goods that are excess or not used in the cafeteria.
Sidney Lanier is a school for differently-abled persons ages 3-22. The garden initiative, hands on training, and infusion into the school curriculum will help train up sixty plus persons each year. Additionally, it will provide trainees with employable skills that are very applicable in this region (N. Florida). Many of these students would be considered unemployable without this resource, simply because they have varying handicaps, when it comes to those less fortunate, we have to be good neighbors and do our best to support collective success.
This garden will provide educational and social opportunities for the students of the Sidney Lanier School to better interface with the local community as well as foster lasting enjoyment and education within the campus. Growth of food in the urban low-income sector is critical, especially in the southeast where there are increasing rates of obesity & diabetes in children. If we get the kids active, we in turn get the parents interested and participating.
Our vision is that this project can serve to bring people together from a range of age, race, income, accessibility, and gender lines. The partners of this project believe everyone deserves to know how to grow & prepare quality food.