In 2009, I had a vision about starting an afterschool that provided academics to students in a non-traditional workshop format. During my professional work and doctorate journey, I continued to see the need to supplement student’s education in a fun, creative manner with a strong focus on reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking.
In November 2010, A&L Afterschool Literacy+ Institute was established in honor of my parents, Alfred and Lorraine M. Hill. I am grounded, focused, and appreciative of my journey and how it has truly impacted the academic livelihood of my students.
A&L Afterschool is a community-based education organization in Northeast Columbus. We have served mostly ethnic minority adults, youth, and veterans through six years of agriculture training and field work on an urban community garden located at Howard Community Center, City of Columbus Recreation and Parks. A&L has received a total of $2,000 in grant funding for its summer community garden camps. Summer 2016 three adult satellite garden growers started new gardens for the first time. We also received funding for several past seasonal projects (the Neighborhood Partnership Grant for $2,500, and Youth Service America and United HealthCare, both national organizations, awarded A&L $500 and $1,000, respectively).
2) Describe your Community Initiative Project.
The Micro-Agriculture Literacy Academy Project is a community-based skills development urban farming initiative. The curriculum includes participatory learning, white board activities, open-ended oral responses, interactive learning games, quizzes, pre-/post-tests, mentoring, growing in practice planters, and one farm site tour. The instructors will address agriculture topics via digitally projected lessons, handouts, and a handbook on basic farming. Participants will also view PowerPoint photographs of several local community gardening facilities (residential houses/plots/start-up sites), greenhouses, and farm produce (i.e., organic vegetables and crops) throughout Franklin County.
The 5-month timeline (17 weekly sessions) for 30 participants is: 7-9 p.m., Wednesdays, January 9, 2017, through May 31, 2017, the completion date. Howard Recreation Community Center is the site for all classroom activities.
The Micro-AgLit Academy will “ease the learning curve” for gardeners to become entrepreneurs and business owners. We will conduct demonstrations on agriculture commodities, community agriculture history, nutrients, best practices, urban farming, parts of plants, specialty and crops/herbs. Lastly, we will mentor in writing personal garden/farm proposals (i.e., number of crops, design, layout, costs, supplies).
We will recruit from the zip code 43219 population of 27,064 residents through presentations at North Central/North East Area Commission meetings.
3) What is your goal for this project?
The goals of the Micro-Agriculture Literacy Academy Project are to 1) introduce no less than 20 participants (of the total 30) to agriculture literacy jargon to increase comprehension, vocabulary, farmer confidence and knowledge, 2) develop “urban farming-to-learn” skills for participants to generate 15 executable farm proposals, 3) maintain positive responses on pre- and post-tests. We will also quantify our success with a goal of 85% of the participants having grades higher than a “B” on pop quizzes, written responses, and farm proposals.
Given applicable training the objectives are 1) the startup of more local gardens in the 43219 community and 2) more crop owners that are empowered to generate workable agriculture business plans.
Because there are no general grocery stores within a five-mile radius of Northeast Columbus, we feel our residents can benefit from simple training on how to organically grow vegetables and fruits in their very own backyard gardens or on a small 2.5-acre farm. AgLit Academy participants will also be directed to sources of simple cooking menus and to resources from federal and Franklin County agriculture agencies. Finally, we will work with a broad inter-generational, cross-section of the community to reinforce community relations.
4) How much money do you need and what will you use it for? (talk real numbers)
We request $1,400 to conduct the Micro-Agriculture Literacy Academy Project per allocations below:
$450 total for $15.00 x 30 quantity of Garden Treasures 19.25-in x 12.09-in Brown Plastic Planter
$950 total for classroom instruction supplies, dry erase boards, Basics of Farming Handbooks, rolling cabinet, color printer cartridges, notebooks, and paper/pencils/markers.