glenville high school students organize sustainability awareness day

Recently, an artistically-minded student at Glenville High School was so inspired by his school's first-ever Sustainability Awareness Day that he painted a rain barrel with the school's signature "G" logo and displayed it at last week's inaugural event.

"It was kind of like a small-scale science fair," says Anthony Body, Community Organizer with the Famicos Foundation, a nonprofit community development organization that serves the neighborhood and hosted the event at its Community Service Center on Ansel Rd. "Each student created a display," which included hydroponics, aeroponics and rain barrel displays.

The program is part of an effort to imbue sustainability practices into Glenville in partnership with residents. The goal is to teach people about sustainability, help them grow and access healthy, local food and make them more self-sufficient. Famicos has partnered with the NEO Restoration Alliance, a nonprofit that promotes community gardening and green jobs, to create the program.

"At first, it was like pulling teeth," says Body of his experience working with high school students. "Then they bit into it more and had more hands-on experiences. We went on field trips to the Rockefeller Greenhouse and Galleria and they learned vermicomposting. They saw how it could relate to their homes."

Although most of the students do not have gardens at home, Body says that two students have started gardens at their homes and one actually now has a hydroponics system. "It opened their eyes," he says.

Body says the area is a "food desert," and that most of the local corner stores do not sell fresh produce. He touts the Circle105 Farmers Market, which is now in its second year and kicks off June 15th, as a viable alternative. The farmers market will accept food stamps and offer additional specials for residents this year.

"I see a lot of people who leave Glenville and never come back and engage the youth," says Body, a graduate of Glenville High School as well as Malone University in Canton, Ohio. "The youth need to be educated on how to do this."

Source: Anthony Body
Writer: Lee Chilcote
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