Urban Agriculture Grant Builds on BCCS Environmental Stewardship
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Brooklyn Center Community Schools has been awarded an Urban Agriculture Grant through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. This grant will fund the district’s project called “Gathering Gifts from the Garden” and will build on the recent environmental stewardship and social justice work to enhance the district’s outdoor learning spaces.
Since the adoption of the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) programming in district-wide curriculum, community interest in urban agriculture has grown. This grant will allow current and future garden spaces as well as outdoor learning spaces to be accessible to all students, staff, and community members. These spaces will lend resources to address urban food security issues and teach basic agriculture production skills which produce food in an environmentally and economically responsible way.
One of the many exciting opportunities this project brings is an agricultural education and career exploration element. Students will be able to apply for internships to learn about agriculture, local food systems, food preparation, as well as space to work on independent projects suited to their personal interests, like marketing or engaging community members in the planning process.
“Gathering Gifts from Gardens” has also been intentionally designed to directly address issues of confidence, capacity, and sense of belonging in natural spaces in an effort to enhance the wellness of our historically underserved community. Over the next two summers, staff will collaborate to expand current art in the garden and summer offerings to both Brooklyn Center Elementary School and Brooklyn Center Middle and High School. This collaboration will likely result in Free Pantries and Farmers Markets, where community members can pick up free seeds, partake in taste tests, experience community art installations, and more.
The first installment of these garden spaces will be available this summer and all community members are encouraged to use these spaces. Community members can request garden resources (like seeds, seedlings, and reading materials) or schedule an informational session with a staff member to answer specific questions.