By: Lindsay Breuler
M.S. Agricultural and Extension Education
Over the past two years, the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership has nurtured a partnership with the Linden community in Columbus. In an effort to promote community and youth development, several programs have been established. During the summer months a small, 4-H club was established to teach the Linden youth (ages 14-18) leadership, gardening, nutrition, and community service. The youth completed a variety of learning workshops including a nutrition scavenger hunt, HANDS CPR training, and hours of hands-on gardening. In addition, several community service events were held which the youth helped to organize and facilitate.
Now that the summer is over, a new community-focused program is being developed and piloted. Within the community of Linden, access to fresh, wholesome food is limited making it difficult to obtain food for a healthy lifestyle. As such, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program has been developed and pilot tested in Linden. The CSA program and Farmer’s market provides fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables to the community. During the pilot test, outside produce was brought in from local producers to gage the interest of the community.
The Linden Community Farmer’s Market was held for three weeks in October starting at the annual Cabbage and Greens Festival. Community members were very excited about the program and expressed significant interest in using the program. After evaluating the three markets in October, it was decided that the program will start back up in April 2015. Plans are in place to include acceptance of SNAP-ED benefits at the market and grow 50-80% of the produce sold at the Linden community garden, Ama Vera’s Garden.
Until April, 2015 the CSA and Farmer’s market will continue to be organized and planned for the next season. Plans are also in place to host three workshops on college and career readiness in the community. Topics covered will include college applications, scholarships, FAFSA, resumes, and interviewing. These workshops will be held starting in January 2015 and will continue through February 2015.
If readers have any questions about the Linden community programs or would like to volunteer please contact myself (email@example.com) or Dr. Gary Straquadine (firstname.lastname@example.org).