By Carol Dorsey, Mobile County Master Gardener
Mobile is home to the newest Groundwork-USA program with its roots in EPA and National Park Service visions. Since the scope of this nonprofit includes the City of Mobile, Prichard, Whistler, and Africatown, the official name is Groundwork-Mobile County. In July 2020, Groundwork-MC and the local nonprofit, Mobile Urban Growers, Inc., collaborated to address community needs and organizational missions in Mobile in the Growing- Everything You Need to Know teaching program.
Many of the thought processes and actions taken to develop new businesses and establishing a garden are the same. These include setting goals and objectives, seeking professional guidance, finances, and deliberate actions. The course audience was six youth in Mobile’s YES program. YES (Youth Excelling for Success) is a summer jobs skill project providing some income and significant training for participants. Training was provided by numerous volunteers from community gardens, business, agribusiness, marketing, food preservation and food distribution. Certified Mobile County Master Gardeners and ACES professionals provided substantial contributions to the entire program. The training was combined with hands on gardening, water management, soil management, and food pantry help.
Preliminary feedback from the participants is encouraging. Their interests and remarks will further guide program revisions and improvement. We consider this a major step in connecting youth with a pathway to envision business possibilities, to be intentional in their actions, and pursue knowledge just as a good gardener does.