May 07, 2018
The Next Generation | hosted by Lexi Marek
Working in her family’s garden as a young girl, a degree Nutritional Science, and her daughter’s school lunch lead Ashley Rause to where she is today. Ashley is a young lady who realized children living in a food desert in Southern Atlanta, Georgia, had no opportunity for healthy foods and no background in growing their own food.
The area where the James B. Whitehead Boys and Girls Club sits is a part of Atlanta where the nearest grocery store is over 3 miles away. With most families relying on public transportation, having access to fresh foods is very difficult.
Throughout the years, Ashley has worked with teachers and school programs to start school gardens at various levels in the education system. Starting with her daughter’s kindergarten class, Ashley worked with the elementary school to start a school garden that allows students to get their hands dirty but also provides healthy and price efficient food for the cafeteria.
On the day that FarmHer visited Ashley, we picked up lunch at the nearest corner store, like most people do in that area. Lunch in hand, which included a candy bar and a drink, we walked into the Boys and Girls Club of the Atlanta Metro.
Ashley then showed off the newly designed garden, which consisted of 4’X8’ raised beds filled with various crops and surrounded by a fence. The garden also has a compost container and a watering bin that collects the rainwater. Just a few weeks before, players from the Atlanta Braves gave the garden a face-lift as part of a service project. They also worked with the students to create signs that labeled each type of crop growing in the beds.
At 2 o’clock each day, the Boys and Girls Club buses take off to pick up students. By 3 o’clock the garden was a busy place, and Ashley kept everyone busy with different tasks.
One group transplanted beats, which were planted too close. Another two girls were on bug duty, picking the harmful bugs off of plants and putting them into bug observer jars so they could see them. The kids watered, weeded, and ultimately learned everything that is takes to create a blooming garden.
To the students in the garden, it was a chance to get their hands dirty and get outside. To Ashley and the others involved in the program, lessons taught in the garden can be carried throughout life.
My favorite part of the visit was when Ashley was talking about the success of the program. In the past nine years, she’s seen students not only be involved in the garden program but use their experience and develop a passion to continue their education in agriculture. Ashley is growing the futures of children through the gardens she works on across Atlanta.
Thank you Ashley and the Boys and Girls Club for allowing FarmHer to visit the garden. FarmHer will air this Friday at 9:30 pm ET/8:30 pm CT on RFD-TV.
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