Our summer program which we call the Kitchen Garden Corps was formed 4 years ago in 2014 at Clarke Middle School where Wick Prichard served as our first AmeriCorps VISTA school specific gardener. The KGC was our idea of how to make use of a school garden during the summer. With the help of Debbie Mitchell and Tad MacMillan, we ran five weeks of the Kitchen Garden Corps with an average of about 3 kids a week. In total 8 different middle school kids gave us the benefit of the doubt that summer that we could take care of a garden, chickens, goats, and run a farm to table, made from scratch restaurant.
Last year, the Kitchen Garden Corps averaged about 25 kids a week with 70 different individuals from all four CCSD middle schools. And we completed our first backpacking trip on a section of the Appalachian Trail, cementing our efforts to connect sustainable agriculture, community planning, and environmental conservation.
If we had a definition of the Kitchen Garden Corps, it would read: We are a Do-It-Ourselves community with a focus on cooking, gardening, food preservation, nutrition, small farm animals, sustainability, the environment, and our local, state, national, and world communities.
A sample day with the Kitchen Garden Corps may look like:
Student arriving at 8 AM, playing a teambuilding game, doing some work in the garden, making their own homemade snack, learning about the cuisine of Columbia, preparing part of our Thursday meal, canning dill pickles, cleaning up, and heading home at noon.
The camp meets Monday to Thursday from 8 to 12 at Clarke Middle School and the Athens Community Career Academy. We have a camper run restaurant on Thursdays which usually means camp runs that day until 1:30 – 2 pm. The restaurant is located in the HT Edwards Building (Athens Community Career Academy) some minutes-walk from Clarke Middle. We start camp the week of June 11 and continue for three weeks through the week of June 25th. We do not run camp the week of July 2nd due to the July 4th holiday. We resume camp the week of July 9th for three weeks concluding with the week of July 23rd. During the week of July 16th-July 19th, we will not hold the Kitchen Garden Corps at Clarke Middle School, and we will not run our restaurant. We will instead go on a backpacking trip, leaving that Monday and returning that Thursday. Our location last year was on a segment of the Appalachian Trail in north Georgia.
The camp cost is $35 a week, but we also have scholarships for the full cost of the camp. We encourage students to participate for two weeks at the minimum to get the most out of the program, but you can choose any two weeks over the summer that work for you and can attend more than that if you have interest. If there is a week of camp that has a particularly high enrollment, we ask for your cooperation in honoring as many campers’ attendance wishes as we can without compromising the safety, the goals, or the fun of camp. Our Registration (with the scholarship form) and Medical Forms are located below. These can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or delivered to Wick Prichard at the Athens-Clarke County Extension Office located at 2152 West Broad Street, Athens, GA 30606, next to Longhorns Steakhouse.