Avery Sponsor’s Stono Park Elementary Food Justice Garden
The Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture is sponsoring the Stono Park Elementary School Food Justice Garden in collaboration with MUSC Urban Farm. This initiative will serve as pilot program for teaching students about growing food, incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into their diets and the importance of access to healthy foods as a form social justice. Produce grown at Stono Park Elementary will be donated to the Lowcountry Action Committee’s Food For Thought food drive. Food For Thought provides residents of the Charleston’s Eastside community with staple pantry items, organic seasonal produce, toiletries, PPE and educational materials.
Black, brown, poor, working class and other marginalized groups are most likely to impacted by food injustice and the movement for food justice works to provide “access to healthy food for all, but also examines the structural roots of these disparities.” According to the Report on Racial Disparities in Charleston County, 2000-2015, “Low-income residents and residents of color in Charleston County continue to live in segregated communities that suffer from…negative health outcomes, stressed communities, and reduction in quality of life and neighborhood sustainability.” It goes on to say, “Low consumption of fruits and vegetables” is a leading cause of death for such communities. The Food Justice Garden initiative seeks to address this disparity head on.
Volunteers from the Avery Research Center and the Lowcountry Action Committee built the Food Justice Garden at Stono Elementary on Friday, May 14th. Students from Ms. Patterson’s kindergarten class watched close by and, once the raised bed garden was built, they broke ground by planting seeds and plant starts donated by the Farm Educators at MUSC Urban Farm. The kindergarten classes at the school will have the garden incorporated into their lessons throughout the remainder of the school year.
Facilities Manager, Public Programming and Outreach Coordinator at the Avery Research Center and District 10 School Board Member, Daron Lee Calhoun, II, hopes to use the pilot program to build curriculum around Black farmers and food justice and expand Food Justice Gardens to schools across the Charleston County School District. In addition to donating produce to Food For Thought, as the initiative grows Calhoun hopes the produce will be given to families of low-income students to supplement their diets as well.
Click here to support the Avery Research Center’s Food Justice Garden initiative. To contribute to the MUSC Urban Farm donate here and to support the Lowcountry Action Committee’s Food For Thought food drive visit their GoFundMe page.