Mapping Neighborhood Change and Growing the Future

  • Location
    Providence, Rhode Island
  • Status

The Problem

Central High School students enrolled in Advanced Placement Calculus and Advanced Placement Environmental Science have been planning to build a community garden in a currently neglected, weed-filled lot on our school's property. This project combines youth leadership and service learning, as students have been working to map intergenerational poverty, food desserts, water/air contaminants, and access to safe and affordable housing in various neighborhoods throughout Providence this entire year. They have decided to build a community garden that celebrates the diversity and history of the South and West sides of Providence, where South Asian, Latin American, and African families have established a rich heritage of urban agriculture and food security despite a noticeable lack of healthy food grocers. They are hoping to break ground on the garden this spring, and keep it sustained through student employees over the coming years. The city of Providence has changed rapidly the last few years alongside changing demographics within the Providence Public Schools: in the last 5 years, the English Language Learner (ELL) population has doubled and teachers are feeling underprepared but also inspired by the need to serve the needs of non-English-speaking students from so many different countries of origin. These changing demographics reflect a diversity in the city that isn't often talked about: South and West side communities are more likely to face intergenerational poverty, food desserts, lack of financial resources for safe housing and transportation, and lack of access to health services. By using a community garden-based, interdisciplinary mapping approach, students hope to elevate their voices, family histories, and respective cultural heritage!

Our Plan

We will conduct student and family surveys about their knowledge of food desserts and neighborhood disparities before and after our project. At the end of the year, students who chose to work on the garden will present their work and research findings/community maps in a capstone presentation to families and community members, who we will then survey again to see if their knowledge has increased.

Themes Addressed

  • term icon
    Community Enhancement
  • term icon
    Indigenous Rights

The Benefit

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