Green Corps is a work/study program supported by the Cleveland Botanical Garden. For the program, high school students work to transform vacant lots in the city into urban farms. The students are paid for their work and they develop work skills, leadership, and help build a healthier, greener community for themselves and their neighbors. Green Corps students work 16–20 hours a week in their “home base” neighborhood farm. They spend time planting, weeding, pruning, harvesting, and preparing crops for market. Each week, students take turns selling the produce at farmers markets.
Today I worked with 13 Green Corps students from the ½ acre Fairfax Learning Farm which is located in a once vacant lot on E79th at Amos Ave. in Cleveland. The students worked in teams to create 3 food alphabets for the Food Font project.
When I arrived, two students gave me a tour of the farm. Rainbow Swiss chard, kale, eggplant, okra, radishes, watermelon, cucumbers and other vegetables were growing in the farm. There were also herbs such as basil, rosemary, and thyme. The student showed me their personal square foot garden boxes which are the size of an average backyard garden that each student maintains.
I gave an overview of the Food Font project, and each team worked together to make letters out of the Farm Food. The first group worked with okra, peppers, and a few squash to make a vegetable letterset that had a fun, flirty feel to it due to the curly shape of the peppers. The next group got creative with the rainbow Swiss chard and made the “Swissy” alphabet. The last group worked with full and sliced potatoes to make a lowercase alphabet called “Potato Patato” with potatoes that were harvested yesterday.
When the Food Font tool is built, these Fairfax Farm Green Corps alphabets will be in the Food Font tool so we can all write things in Swiss chard, potatoes, peppers, and okra. Thanks to everyone that participated and to Alex the team leader who worked with me to plan for the activity.