Kids Make the Garden Grow
By Michael Lindsay
The kids here make the garden grow.
Riding the uptick of urban gardening sweeping through Atlanta and the nation, youth in the East Atlanta Kids Club are learning about gardening and healthy eating through hands-on activities in the Brownwood Park Community Garden. Located just south of Glenwood Avenue near Moreland Avenue, Brownwood Park is home to both a flourishing community garden, maintained by dedicated local volunteers, and Brownwood Recreation Center, which EAKC manages in cooperation with the city.
Kids Club members have multiple opportunities to work and learn in the garden. Last spring EAKC youth and volunteers planted several plots with a variety of plants, including herbs, squash, tomatoes and sunflowers. They also lined a lower terrace with cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins and strawberries.Volunteers,
community members and the staff at EAKC also lend their expertise and passion to the
garden. Youth and adults alike have enjoyed harvesting and eating a large volume of fruits, vegetables and herbs all summer, and learning a great deal along the way.
Michelle Rice, a local resident, master gardener and dedicated volunteer with the EAKC, helps the nonprofit to manage the health, watering cycle and planting of their garden areas. Michelle is developing on-site teaching tools such as guide posts and crop maintenance resources so that families and residents of the area can look up specifics on plant maintenance, soil rotations and recipes right in the garden.
Dallas Head, an EAKC Teen Club member, enjoys harvesting his own tomatoes, arugula and green peppers. He mixes fresh vegetables and fruits into a lunch time salad, in lieu of a more typical snack that youth like to eat, such as potato chips or fast food.
He is among the dozens of kids who have been learning about healthy eating and cooking from Chef Seth Freedman, who works with EAKC and other community groups through a grant-funded initiative of the East Atlanta Village Farmer’s Market. Freedman has been showing the kids how to harvest crops and giving tours of the farmer’s market, allowing youth access to the market’s learning garden, as well as dozens of organic food merchants and vendors.
“Chef Seth” can be found doing cooking demonstrations for all comers at the EAV Farmer’s Market every Thursday starting at 4 pm. He also does cooking demos in the Brownwood Community Garden and in the kitchen of Brownwood Recreation Center that highlight simple and healthy ways to turn garden produce into tasty alternatives for families’ tables.
“The object of these classes is to increase consumption of fresh veggies,” says the chef, who wants to increase the presence of the farmer’s market in the neighborhood as a resource to residents. He would like the youth especially to see greater relevance to the market and its purpose and to try foods they have never heard of before.
“And I would like to move beyond the kids to engage families and parents to desire a change” over their food sources.
To get involved with EAKC and other ongoing volunteer projects, visit our volunteer page, the East Atlanta Kids Club Facebook page, or call EAKC staff at 404-627-8050. To get involved with the Brownwood Community Garden, contact garden manager Mary Yetter at email@example.com. To learn more about the East Atlanta Village Farmers Market, visit www.farmeav.com.
Michael Lindsay served as a VISTA Americorps Summer Associate for EAKC during the summer of 2011. He will be joining the Peace Corps and working on a farming project in Paraguay this fall.
Cbeyond broadened its support of Kids Club this fall to benefit Brownwood
Park and the entire community.
U.S. Micro Corporation has been a great friend to Kids Club for the past
three years, providing us with computer and networking equipment, financial support and most recently, the gift of a much-needed school bus.