Local foods is one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture. The growing demand for local foods is the result of consumer interest in enviromental and community concerns like increasing access to healthful food. The DuBois Institute main focus is to connect people to nature and local grown food. Through hands-on education, children and adults learn gardening, urban farming, and healthful eating. Organized in 2010 Aunt Katie's Community Garden and Farm (AKCG) serves a diverse community at large and schools across the Wiregrass Region.
A community garden means many things to many people. Many families living in the city would like to grow some of their own fruits, vegetable, herbs and flowers. Some want to save money on their food bills. Others like the freshness, flavor and wholesomeness of homegrown produce. And for many, gardening is a relaxing way to exercise and enjoy being out-of-doors. There are also famililies from other cultures who would like to grow traditional foods not available in the supermarkets. Community gardens beautify neighborhoods and help bring neighbors closer together.
This project will turn the garden into an ecosystem (engine) that will demonstrate how urban agriculture can be a job oases and a pipeline that teaches youth about the importance of real food and encourage them to become leaders of their community and more productive citizens through volunteerism and employment. AKCG's expansion as a marketplace and learning center we call "FoodLife Center" will have a positive impact on child and adult nutrition through a recurring curriculum of evidence-based informal science classes and listening sessions. The outdoor plant-based education program is designed to instill appreciation and respect for nature and teaches them how to plant, grow, harvest and eat fruits and vegetables. The garden experience is an important component of the educational, behavoral and environmental changes necessary to make our community healthy and happy.
Our FoodLife Center is a 1/2 acre site used for both high density food production and a community garden for local gardeners primarily utlitlizing a raised bed concept. We are a certified USDA People's Garden. This garden is making a BIG IMPACT on the environment and our community:
The FoodLife Center currently features:
The expansion plans for the FoodLife Center include: