By Reed Couch, Berry College
Berry College’s Department of Environmental Science and Studies is partnering with the Davies Homeless Shelters’ South Meadows Farm in a project funded by a pair of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants.
The Davies Shelters, located in Rome, Ga., recently received a $50,000 USDA grant to further expand its two-acre vegetable farm. The grant will fund urban farmer training programs and paid apprenticeships to residents of the shelter through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. The training program will also leverage partnerships with Georgia Organics, the National Farmers Union and South Rome Redevelopment Corporation.
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Associate Professor Brian Campbell, department chair of environmental science and studies at Berry College, will provide training and guidance for farmers. Campbell will also host a workshop for the farmers on agricultural biodiversity conservation, or the science of seed saving.
Meanwhile, Berry College’s environmental science and studies students will work alongside shelter residents in the gardens and farm to provide fresh produce for the shelters’ dinners.
In addition, the shelters’ Farm Bus program this fall received a three-year $212,000 grant from the USDA. The Farm Bus sells excess produce from its South Meadows farm and community gardens. The used school bus was retrofitted into a mobile market stand by Berry’s Creative Technologies program.
Berry College is a Sullivan Foundation partner school.
This article has been edited slightly from the original version appearing on the Berry College website.