Strong Roots Movement is a sustainability based non-profit organization that brings organic edible garden beds to under-served elementary schools and at risk-youth centers, to help teach the upcoming generation how to be green,organic, and sustainable. It's more than just teaching the upcoming generation important environmental efforts, its also a good source of therapy for those that experience high degree of crime rates found in these under-served neighborhoods. Harmful environmental exposures often occur in communities facing SES stressors including deteriorating housing, poor access to health care, high unemployment, crime, and poverty, which may exacerbate negative health effects. These garden beds help stimulate the opposite, the seedlings produce fresh oxygen and help cultivate a therapeutic way that shows the students how to love and nurture something to life, therefore benefiting their overall mental health. This project is able to produce vibrant, edible produce for the youth currently living at the centers that receive them. Not only that,we are able to transform lives with the installation of these garden beds. We create an abundance of free food for people in need by supporting and encouraging the establishment of gardens on unused land and space while increasing diversity, raising awareness for health and wellness, and inspiring and educating youth,to create an economically sustainable system to uplift communities around the globe.
Our project tackles a wide variety of issues found in our community. Once the produce we grow is ready to be harvested and given to either the students to take home for their parents to cook with or given to the cafeteria to use in the school lunch for the day , that is an indication that the garden beds and the effort to provide organic, nutritious produce to kids living in "food deserts" was successful. We believe we did change our community to some extent as a result of my project, as we brought the community together.
Our project tackles a wide variety of issues found in our community, so there is a variety of ways we can measure our impact.
First, once the produce we grow is ready to be harvested and given to either the students to take home for their parents to cook with or given to the cafeteria to use in the school lunch for the day , that is an obvious indication that the garden beds and the effort to provide organic, nutritious produce to kids living in "food deserts" was successful.
Furthermore, after we work with teachers and faculty at the schools/centers to develop environmental educational lesson plans to teach to the students, we can tell by the students reactions to learning new material how excited they are to have this opportunity.
Additionally, the garden beds and tending to them are a good form of therapy for the students who live in harmful environmental exposures, such as air pollution, which often occurs in communities facing SES stressors including deteriorating housing, poor access to health care, high unemployment, crime, and poverty, which may exacerbate negative health effects. Once the students are each given a seedling to plant, and are given the responsibility to take care of it and watch it develop into life, it really benefits the students.
Also, once we install the garden beds, we plant milkweed (which is the main food source for monarch butterflies) which instantly attracts monarch butterflies, which almost instantly brightens the entire mood of the campus as well as beautifies it by providing lush pre-sprouted seedlings.
Another indicator we use to measure the impact our project has made is when we see the relationship and bonds develop between the volunteers and the students that we bring ht garden beds to. Over time, the students open up to the volunteers and work side by side on the garden bed, not only gaining a hands-on science experiment but also developing a sense of having a role model and someone to look up to.
We will collaborate by reaching out to under-served elementary schools and at-risk youth centers in the surrounding community to bring the community together, to unify us through the power of obtaining knowledge. We will also reach out to UF students on campus for those who are interested in volunteering on the garden beds and engaging with the students at these schools/ at-risk youth centers.
We will show courage by not allowing the socio-economic cleavages in our community put the under-served students at a disadvantage. We will rise past the deep rooted social-scturture to connect and engage our community to close that gap. We will show courage by not giving up on our mission even if a school or youth center is unable to take on the garden beds and declines our offer, which is the biggest challenge we face. But its okay, we expect this because our goal is to reach out to struggling facilities that need the help.
We will increase our compassion by reaching out to more elementary schools and at risk youth centers to make an impact as many students as we can, because we believe they deserve the same opportunities as every other student despite their socio-economic status. We will increase our passion by attempting to the engage the community as much as possible, wether it be from reaching out to more students who could potentially be interested as volunteers, or reaching out to more than just elementary schools but hopefully middle and high schools as well. We will continue to expand and make a difference to the best of our abilities.