Baylor To Dedicate Community Garden on MLK Jr. Day of Service

Jan. 14, 2011

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(BECAUSE OF THE RAIN, THE DEDICATION OF THE BAYLOR COMMUNITY GARDEN HAS BEEN MOVED INSIDE TO THE SUB DEN ON THE FIRST FLOOR OF THE BILL DANIEL STUDENT CENTER. THE EVENT TIME REMAINS THE SAME, 1:30 P.M. MONDAY, JAN. 17.)

The student-led Campus Kitchens Project (CKP) at Baylor University has been selected as one of only 20 campus programs across the country to receive a grant from National Campus Kitchens Project for the National Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 17. This year's CKP volunteer event on MLK Jr. Day will include the dedication of Baylor's Community Garden, a new project that presents a unique opportunity for a partnership between the academic and service sectors of the university and the community.

Baylor's Community Garden, at Ninth Street and Bagby Avenue, will be dedicated at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17, by Baylor President and First Lady Ken and Alice Starr. The public is invited to attend and participate in various gardening, art, nutrition and reflection activities between noon and 3 p.m. at the garden site. Baylor's Engineers With a Mission will install raised beds. (In the event of rain on Monday, the Baylor MLK Day of Service event will be held in the SUB Den on the first floor of the Bill Daniel Student Center.)

Organizers said the Baylor garden has the potential to improve nutrition for children, enhance the classroom experience of Baylor students, serve as a demonstration and teaching site for schools and urban gardeners, encourage healthy lifestyles and strengthen bridges to the community in a fresh, healthy and useful environment. Volunteers are committed to relieving and ending local hunger through community urban gardens.

"This is one of the university's most progressive moves toward giving all areas of the Baylor campus an opportunity to engage each other and build community in a very substantial way," said Amanda Allen, BBA '09, project manager with the Interdisciplinary Poverty Initiative at Baylor. "Once the Baylor community garden is firmly established, we expect between 80 and 90 percent of the garden's fresh produce will be donated to Campus Kitchen, who will take it to local agencies, such as the Salvation Army and Family Abuse Center, to provide nutritious meals."

On the academic side, Baylor will focus on integrating sustainable water-use technologies into its garden, which will be designed and tested by Baylor students. The test results will provide new interactive educational opportunities and serve as a model for training, particularly to guide other organizations to tend gardens.

Baylor's garden partners include the Campus Kitchens Project at Baylor, Baylor Dining Services, the departments of environmental science and family and consumer sciences, Graduate School, Interdisciplinary Poverty Initiative and the Office of Sustainability. Community partners for the MLK Day of Service include Brazos Area Health Education Center, Communities in Schools, Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition, Waco Arts Initiative and World Hunger Relief Inc.

"Campus Kitchens Project and the Urban Gardening Coalition hope people from across Waco will join together in serving the Waco community," said Kelly L. Baker, BA '06, MSW '08, a Baylor VISTA volunteer who focuses her work on hunger alleviation. "As Dr. King said, 'Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.'"

Before the event, Campus Kitchens volunteers will prepare and serve 1,300 bagged lunches for volunteers at the 13 urban gardening sites across Waco. About 70 volunteers will prepare lunches from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, in the first-floor kitchen at the Mary Gibbs Jones Family and Consumer Sciences Building, Eighth Street and M.P. Daniel Esplanade on the Baylor campus. Volunteers will gather again from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 17, to complete the lunches. Volunteers will then deliver the lunches to MLK Day of Service volunteers at all 14 urban garden locations in Waco.

Register to volunteer by going to the Baylor Campus Kitchens website at http://www.baylor.edu/campuskitchen website and clicking on MLK DAY OF SERVICE, or contact Kelly Baker. For information on urban gardening, contact Bethel Erickson.

About the Campus Kitchens Project

The Campus Kitchens Project (CKP) is giving $40,000 to 20 student-led, community-based programs across 15 states, all committed to highlighting their work on National Day of Service, Jan. 17. This year's MLK Jr. Day of Service grantees represent the largest and most diverse group since the CKP grant program began in 2009. Since 2001, CKP has provided healthy meals to neighbors in need by harnessing the spirit of student volunteerism within local communities. Now in its eighth year, CKP operates on 25 college, university and high school campuses, providing meals to individuals and families in their communities. Thanks to the support of Sodexo, General Mills and the Corporation for National and Community Service, Campus Kitchens continues to grow. More information on The Campus Kitchens Project is available at www.campuskitchens.org.

About the Urban Gardening Coalition

The Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition (HOT UGC) partners with numerous community organizations in and around Waco - planting gardens and building relationships - at the grassroots level. Using the garden as our gathering grounds, the HOT UGC hopes to strengthen the local food system, improve access to healthy food, and empower folks to grow their own. More information is available at hotugc.org.

About the Waco Arts Initiative

Waco Arts Initiative believes that poverty is a deep-rooted problem stemming from a lack of exposure and resources needed for individuals to envision a different life for themselves. Because of this need, WAI gives innovative and empowering opportunities for children living in poverty by providing access to the fine arts through instructional classes and mentoring relationships. Contact: info@Wacoartsinitiative.org.

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275

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