Amanda Elzy High Community Garden
Organized by: Rob Duren
Amanda Elzy High School is a Title 1 school in Greenwood, MS, which is in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Our school serves a student population that is 99% African American and 100% of the students receive free breakfast and lunch. Our school was recently taken over by the state and the majority all sports have been canceled- and our students have been left with virtually 0 after school opportunities.
We are seeking to build a community garden at our school to begin to positively transform our community and to address critical healthcare issues and overcome wellness gaps – of which there are plenty of in the Delta. More than 60% of the Mississippi Delta population consists of African Americans who are disproportionately struggling with diet-related disease and an alarming lack of access to basic health care services. Mississippi is the most rural state in our nation and ranks #1 for obesity and poverty in the U.S. and #2 for diabetes. There are no public transportation options in Greenwood, which further complicates access to healthy and affordable food.
By establishing a community garden at our school, we hope to begin building a foundation of food literacy, while also seeking to offer a healthy, place-based solution to aforementioned issues.
The great paradox of the Delta is that we walk on some of the richest top soil on the earth, yet find ourselves lacking access to healthy and affordable foods.
All community garden efforts will be facilitated by me, but students will lead, construct, and tend to the garden- while also building crucial leadership skills and mentoring their peers to foster the development of new student-leaders so that the garden may live on from generation to generation.