Arkansas GardenCorps is an AmeriCorps program hosted by the Access to Healthy Foods Research Group at the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute in Little Rock, Arkansas. The mission of Arkansas GardenCorps is to promote the use of school and community gardens to provide nutrition education with the purpose of reducing childhood obesity and to increase environmental awareness and sustainable agriculture practices in Arkansas communities. Members assist Service Sites across the state of Arkansas with the following objectives:
Development and maintenance of school and community gardens
Garden-based nutrition education for youth and adults
Recruitment of volunteers to support sustainability of gardens
Increase access to fresh produce grown in gardens
See application at www.arkansasgardencorps.com
In general, essential functions of the position include:
Seeding, planting, overseeing, harvesting produce
Weeding, watering, thinning crops, bed amending and maintenance, fertilizing and pesticide control
Construction of garden infrastructure (such as raised beds and irrigation)
Maintaining tidiness of common areas
Building, maintenance and utilization of rainwater harvest systems, vermicompost bins, and 3-bin compost systems
Processing and transporting crops to consumer (produce stand, restaurant, food rescue, etc.)
Operating heavy equipment (tiller, tractor, trench digger)
Providing garden-based education and nutrition education to youth and adults through structured lessons and/or workshops and training
Incorporating educational components into social events at garden, such as volunteer workdays
Managing gardens’ resources, such as tools and equipment
Organizing community outreach events
Coordinating/logging volunteers and their hours and scheduling work days
Publicizing gardens’ volunteer needs and events through traditional and social media
Very small amount of donation procurement, fundraising, and/or grant writing to assist with procurement of materials and funds directly benefiting the garden and its programming
Distribution of produce to local food banks
Sharing of produce with local community members
Assisting with establishment of home gardens, or inviting community members into the garden to pick their own produce
Attend 4-day orientation in early March in Little Rock
Attend bimonthly Arkansas GardenCorps trainings in Little Rock
Complete monthly progress reports and submit to ARGC
Log time in OnCorps on a weekly basis
Participate in regular email and phone communication with ARGC staff
Participate in all duties as described in the Service Site’s Service Member Position Description
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Preferred:
Knowledge of gardening (knowledge of sustainable gardening is preferred)
Effective communication, leadership and community organizational skills
Teaching experience preferred
Physical, Emotional, and Intellectual Demands:
Willingness to serve in outdoor environments, in all weather conditions
Ability to lift at least 25 lbs and perform garden related physical activities
Ability to work independently and make informed decisions
Ability to work cooperatively and compassionately with a diverse community
900 hours for all full-time members (6 months) over the service term beginning March 1, 2018 and ending August 26, 2018.
450 hours for the part-time member (4.5 months) April 15, 2018 through August 26, 2018.
300 hours for the part-time member (3 months) June 4, 2018 through August 26, 2018.
Summer 2018 Service Sites:
Arkansas Children's Hospital- Little Rock
The Arkansas Children's Hospital Community Garden is a collaborative effort of Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH), Arkansas Children's Research Institute's Access to Healthy Foods Research Group, Arkansas GardenCorps, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and the National Park Service Little Rock Central High Historic Site. Since Fall 2015, the 4000 square foot garden has brought together community members and produced vegetables for neighbors as well as Helping Hands of Greater Little Rock, a food pantry that serves thousands of families in Central Arkansas. They plan to double of the size of the garden and increase efforts towards community engagement.
Cobblestone Farms -Bentonville
Cobblestone Farms' mission is to help address hunger by growing fresh local produce for the community and to teach the community the role fresh food has on health, wellness, and a sustainable future.
-Service Member will be focusing on greenhouse duties.
Dunbar Garden- Little Rock
Dunbar Garden is a teaching garden that also hosts community workshops and classes year-round. The Service Member will assist the program manager with implementation of an on-site garden market, outreach to increase its scope, and garden maintenance to support it.
Waves of Prayer- Elaine
Waves of Prayer is a 501(c)3 serving predominantly African-American and Hispanic farm workers in south Phillips County, most of whom live below the poverty level. Their educational target populations are the 200 young people in the Summer Feeding Program in Lake View and Elaine and the 200 families participating in Free Food Distribution, which receives food from the Delta Food Bank and Arkansas Food Bank.
Youth Home- Little Rock
Youth Home, Inc. is a private non-profit mental health provider. The Service Member will grow the existing program from an educational standpoint, improve the current farm to table initiative, help build and expand the existing garden areas. They are also open to any projects the member would like to accomplish and will provide the needed resources.
Tri-Cycle Farms- Fayetteville
Tri Cycle Farms' mission is to grow community through soil as they steward food awareness, education, and empowerment. They envision a world with food security, sovereignty, and sustainability for all.
Community Need Addressed
This position addresses the need for garden-based nutrition educators, consistent assistance with development, maintenance, and expansion of school and community gardens, and increasing support and buy-in from community members for garden-based programming. Arkansas GardenCorps partner service sites grow, donate, and sell fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers and eggs to share with their communities. Our partner sites are addressing food insecurity by increasing the access and availability of healthy food items for community members. Many of our partner organizations serve low-resource and vulnerable populations including children, youth, adults and seniors.
Increased nutrition knowledge as a result of garden-based nutrition education
Increased number of volunteers supporting garden program
Increased number of clients served
Increased hours of garden-based nutrition education delivered
Increased amount of produce harvested from gardens
Education award upon successful completion of service, Health coverage, Living allowance, Student loan forbearance, Training
450- and 300-hour Service Members are ineligible for student loan forbearance and health coverage.
Skills you will gain
task management, communication, gardening, community outreach, working with youth
Competencies You Will Develop
Demonstrate sensitivity and empathy, Listen to and consider others' viewpoints, Maintain open lines of communication with others, Speak clearly, in precise language and in a logical, organized and coherent manner, Turn taking, Write cleary and effectively
Creativity & Problem Solving
Able to identify and define the problem, Capable of generating possible solutions, Communicate the problem to appropriate personnel, Improvise, Provide relevant expertise, Select and implement well-considered solution
Develop constructive working relationships and maintain them over time, Establish a high degree of trust and credibility with others, Interact professionally and respectfully with supervisors and co-workers, Stay positive and outcome oriented, Use appropriate strategies and solutions for dealing with conflicts and differences to maintain a smooth workflow
Accepts responsibility, Anticipate the consequences of decisions, Identify and prioritize the key issues involved to facilitate the decision making process, Involve people appropriately in decisions that may impact them, Quickly respond with a back-up plan if a decision goes amiss
Carefully consider which tools or technological solutions are appropriate for a given job, Consistently choose the best tool or technological solution for the problem at hand, Operate tools and equipment in accordance with established operating procedures, safety standards, and ethical guidelines, Seek opportunities to improve knowledge of tools and technologies that may assist in streamlining work and improving productivity
Able to prioritize various competing tasks, Create environment of contribution, Create plan of action, schedule tasks so that work is completed on time, Demonstrate the effective allocation of time and resources efficiently, Drive decision making, Set goals
Be pleasant, courteous, professional and respectful when dealing with internal and external customers or clients, Honor the privilege of being able to work with and for those being served, Provide personalized, prompt, and efficient service to meet the requirements, requests and needs of customers, Understand and anticipate the needs of others, Understand the importance of one's role in the functioning of the organization, Understand the significance of maintaining a healthful and safe environment