CCUA envisions a community transformed by good food for all and the skills to grow it.
By Cassidy Shearrer
Columbia Business Times
December 28, 2018
Schrag is experimenting in her kitchen. For a busy, wheelchair-bound, single mom, this is a big deal. A few years ago, Schrag probably couldn’t have identified a basil plant. Now, thanks to CCUA, she has homemade pesto in her freezer.
Schrag is learning about gardening through CCUA’s Opportunity Gardens program. Trish Woolbright, the Opportunity Gardens coordinator, came out to Schrag’s home with volunteers and helped her install a raised garden bed, filled it with soil and compost, planted seedlings, and advised her on upkeep. Woolbright even checked to make sure Schrag had a gardening hose.
Schrag is now in year two of the three-year program and continues to receive on-site mentorship for her garden. Any family that qualifies for the free- and reduced-lunch program at Columbia Public Schools qualifies for Opportunity Gardens.
“I’m finding that I’m branching out a little more,” says Schrag. “Until I started this, I was completely ignorant, even about the herbs. I didn’t even know how those grew! I guess I thought they magically appeared.”
Woolbright sees people like Schrag expanding their agricultural literacy every day.
“I get to watch adults learn things all the time, and it is magical,” says Woolbright. “It goes from people who have never touched dirt and who eat mainly fast food to getting them into gardening and cooking at home all the way to selling produce and anywhere in between.”