Students in Crenshaw County signed up for a Landscape Design course, but quickly formed a plan that could affect the whole community. This Career Academy effort, supported by a grant from Wiregrass RC & D, directed students to examine needs in the area. Food insecurity became the focus of the project as students planned a community garden. The plan shifted again when the intended plot was too wet to accommodate in-ground plants. Therefore, most of the grant money was used to pour a concrete pad that would be home to raised beds and an outdoor classroom. Students developed seasonal planting plans and worked to build industry partnerships. Partnerships developed and pledges have been made by local businesses to ensure more raised beds can be added in the future as well as seating added to the outdoor classroom area.
This project educated 75 students as they developed essential employability and life skills: working cooperatively, making a hierarchy of needs, recognizing food insecurity in society, and planning to positively impact the community. The anticipated long-term impact is to instill employability skills into 50 or more students per year as they plan, maintain, and produce goods for community consumption.