KeepHealthCare.ORG – Andrew College home to Community Garden | Features
CUTHBERT — Andrew College, situated in the rural southwest Georgia community of Cuthbert, opened a community garden in July of 2017 that continues to thrive with organically grown produce.
Drew Schiavone, the current director for the Regenerative Agriculture program at Andrew, said that the community garden was the brainchild of the college’s Regenerative Agriculture Club.
“Andrew College’s Regenerative Agriculture Club created the community garden,” Schiavone said. “It is open to all gardeners, regardless of age or skill.”
Andrew College offers an associate of science degree program in Regenerative Agriculture. Schiavone said that the program is a two-year curriculum that stresses the environmental and social interactions within the fields of sustainable agriculture. The program is designed to emphasize holistic land management with a focus on plant and animal science, natural resources conservation and agribusiness management. Students who earn their associate’s degree can move directly into their desired career path in sustainable agriculture or complete a bachelor’s degree program.
“Unlike conventional farming, regenerative agriculture integrates long-term environmental sustainability with economic profitability,” Schiavone said. “Students enrolled in the Regenerative Agriculture program at Andrew College will learn to create and scale ecologically sound agricultural systems in this context without jeopardizing human or environmental health.”
The community garden is located at the Regenerative Agriculture Greenhouse on 501 College Street in Cuthbert. Since its opening the garden has continued to thrive with fresh organic produce, including fruits such as tomatoes, herbs such as basil plants, different types of squash and a variety of vegetables.
Shiavone said that the garden is generally open to the public on a daily basis, but most participants start off with supervised training during their open hours. Currently, hours of participation are Tuesdays from 9-11 a.m. and Thursdays from 1-3 p.m. Volunteers who check in with a garden leader and work for an hour in the garden can take home free fresh produce.
“While I personally oversee and manage most of the garden operations myself,” Schiavone said. “I rely on students and volunteers from the community to help maintain the grounds and potentially operate their own personal garden plot on site.”
Schiavone said that some of the benefits of the garden for the community and the college is that it produces nutritious food; reduces family food budgets; conserves resources; creates opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy and education; provides a catalyst for neighborhood and community development; beautifies neighborhoods, and improves the quality of life for people in the garden.
“Specific benefits to the local community include the use of the garden as a regional agritourism destination by improving the aesthetics along (U.S.) Highway 82, joining the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail and the sponsorship of various educational programs,” Schiavone said.
Produce from the garden is also used in Andrew College’s dining hall and was emphasized during the recent Inspire Student Orientation.
Andrew College was founded in 1854 and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The college offers the following degrees: associate of art, associate of music, associate of nursing, associate of science and bachelor of business. For more information on the programs at Andrew College visit andrewcollege.edu. For more information on their community garden, email [email protected] or visit Facebook.com/acrag.
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