The E3 Garden Project was the brain child born through the i-Three Issue Corps by Alabama Extension Specialists, Dr. Rudy Pacumbaba and Dr. Andrea Morris. The project seeks to Engage, Educate and Empower communities on topics surrounding nutrition, physical activity, conservation, and of course gardening! Utilizing Alabama A&M University Freshman students, enrolled in the Service Learning class, the garden was set to begin during the spring growing season. Well even the biggest dreams get deferred. Langston Hughes wrote a poem asking “what happens to a dream deferred?” well our answer is, it keeps growing in the hearts of those who believe in it!!! The project was delayed due to low enrollment during the spring semester, but the dream lived on in our hearts and now with a new group of eager freshman, construction on the garden began during the fall semester.
Students are using the SOW app, developed by the Alabama Cooperative Extension, to guide them and the community residents through the growing process of radishes, turnip greens, collard greens, onions and carrots. The project will continue to develop into a space where citizens can participate in the growing of healthy produce, learn about food safety, meal preparation, conservation efforts, and physical activity. Further plans include the addition of QR code stations that prompt citizens to food safety and meal prep tips related to the foods grown in the garden and a small exercise trail where QR code stations will also be used to prompt them to physical activity demonstrations and challenges.
The seeds have been planted, and the students have been engaged, educated and empowered to now go into the community and repeat the process. We will continue to water this dream as the E3 Garden Project continues to grow from our hearts into reality!!!!