If you can teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime — and if you teach a child to garden, you can also feed him for a lifetime. That’s the idea behind Growing Young Minds, a health and educational initiative that is taking root at daycares, shelters and elementary schools in North Columbia.
After being inspired by Alice Waters and her Edible Schoolyard project years ago, Matt Costello, executive director for the Eau Claire Promise Zone, had always wanted to put community gardens in places where there was a need. Fortunately, last summer he saw that the Bi-Lo Holdings Foundation was calling for grant proposals to fund a project that was food-centric and specifically benefited children. He reached out to Ed Brogdon of Back to Eden LLC, a community garden designer and healthy lifestyle advocate, to partner on this project for the good of the community.
“At the Promise Zone, we follow the West African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child,” Costello says. “It sounds easy, but to get it all into action is a whole different matter. That’s the concept of this grant — Bi-Lo Holdings, the expert gardener, the churches and daycares are all needed to make this project work.”
Their initiative received the funding, and both Brogdon and Costello got to work. Ten gardens were installed at churches, daycare centers and schools in the 29203 area with the help of Benedict College’s service learning students.
“[One of the garden sites], Grace Academy, has a similar vision, to allow the garden to be a learning platform and teach gardening as a lifestyle,” Brogdon says.
Revitalizing the community through providing education, activities and community support is exactly what the not-for-profit Eau Claire Promise Zone is committed to doing in North Columbia, and this project falls right in line with those values, Costello says.
Each of the gardens is located within steps of the facility and the children are involved daily in the work involved to keep the garden bounty prosperous. The first garden was installed on April 26 and already children are seeing the fruits, and vegetables, of their labor.
“The kids can create their own salad or top their own sandwiches with food that they themselves grew and watered,” says Costello. “They are growing their own food literally, eating their own tomatoes and beans.”
It’s not always easy to get kids to eat their vegetables, Brogdon acknowledges, but he knows that a hands-on approach is the way to go.
“If you let a child plant a tomato or pepper, they are going to take it home and show mom and dad, and they’re going to want the same thing to happen at their home,” he says.
The benefit for children and families is easy to see when families are engaging together in an activity that is rewarding to both the family and the community. Brogdon recalls a time that point was driven home for him.
“At Precious Jewels Childcare Center, the owner’s young son helped us plant their garden,” he says. “I had taken turnip green clippings over there to transplant, and the mom came up to me to tell me that her son is now eating leafy green vegetables that he had never touched before.”
To continue introducing gardening as an attainable lifestyle, Brogdon is working on organizing a tour of community gardens at churches, to showcase the concept to a wider audience.
“Faith-based organizations are being looked at by the National Institutes of Health as a key component for teaching people in the community.”
Having a full-fledged program would allow people to be exposed to it as frequently as they go to church, which for some is every week.
“It’s great when you have kids and families embrace this concept so genuinely and make growing their own food a part of their lifestyle,” he says.
And that kind of lifestyle can feed these families for a lifetime.
Four Miles, Twelve Doughnuts
Winston’s Wish aims to increase knowledge and understanding of children with autism, and you can help by participating in the 4.donut Race on October 25th. Start at Edventure Children’s Museum, run 2 miles to Krispy Kreme, eat 12 doughnuts, and run back! Registration is required and can be done here before October 23rd at 5 p.m.
The Other Place at Trustus Theatre
Juliana Smithton is a successful neurologist whose life seems to be coming unhinged. A mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, past collides with present and the elusive truth of Juliana’s mental health boils to the surface in The Other Place, running at Trustus Theatre October 17th through November 1st. There will be a talk-back following the matinee on October 19th. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling the box office at 803-254-9732.
King Lear in Finlay Park
October 16th-18th and 22nd-25th, the South Carolina Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare’s King Lear. All performances held at the Finlay Park Ampitheatre at 7:30 PM. For tickets and more information, click here or call 803-665-2000.
Bluegrass, Bidding, and BBQ
Join The Palladium Society Thursday, October 23rd from 7-10 p.m. for its 11th annual silent auction, featuring music by The Mustache Brothers and catering by Bourbon and The Oak Table. Tickets are $30 at the door and include admission, drinks, and food. Get yours online now!
3LAU on Sunday, October 26th and the Unofficial Skrillex Mothership Tour After-Party on the 27th. More information and tickets for both can be found here. VIP tables available.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Local business is searching for new associates who are looking for a fun environment to earn great wages. Great position for college students/recent graduates. Must be well-mannered with excellent customer service skills/work ethic/ability to lift heavy items/must have valid Driver’s License. Call 803-376-4884 or email resume: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cupcake now hiring a closing manager. Must be outgoing, customer service focused, able to work evenings and weekends. Apply in person. 1213 Lincoln Street, Columbia SC 29201. freshcupcakes.com
Currently seeking a friendly & detail-oriented individual for an Administrative Assistant/Data Entry Clerk position on our Administrative Office team. Primary responsibilities include: Data entry, process incoming & outgoing mail, good communication skills required. Contact: email@example.com.
Real Estate Spotlight
BB&T Home Mortgage Sharing knowledge with satisfied homeowners. BBT.com/Mortgage
Capital Kitchen & Bath One stop solution for all your remodeling & new construction needs. CAPITALKB.COM
CoMar Products Inc. Manufacturing quality surfaces for kitchens & baths since 1965. www.comarproducts.com
Coldwell Banker United, Realtors Welcome To Our Neighborhood! Work With The Best! CBCarolinas.com
SC HousingFinancing Housing. Building SC. To find out if you qualify or for more information visit schousing.com