Beginning in the spring of 2014, UGArden, with support from the UGA Office of Service Learning, initiated a new program at CMS that bases an Americorp/VISTA Volunteer at the school to focus on issues of food insecurity, food production and nutrition. In addition to training teachers and UGA student volunteers to work with middle school students in the garden in ways that meet educational objectives, the Americorps/VISTA Volunteer serves as a point of contact for UGA faculty and students to engage with teachers, middle school students and parents in other ways.
As part of this project, a pilot program called the Clarke Middle Kitchen Garden Corps was initiated in the summer of 2014. The five-week “summer camp” combined leadership, sustainable agriculture, and family and consumer science activities while providing valuable work-related skills and the opportunity to contribute to their community through improving access to fresh, local, and healthy food. Each day, students worked in the garden, learned how to cook, and most importantly, got to eat all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables. At the end of each week, students operated a “pop-up restaurant” where they decorated a classroom like a fancy restaurant and, prepared and served a three-course meal to a seating of 25-30 adults. Each week, a chef from some of the nicest local restaurants assisted the students in the planning and preparation of a variety of meals indicative of their restaurant.
A special thank you goes to Hugh Acheson who contributed both his time and that of chefs from his partner restaurants.
For more information about the CMS garden, visit: