This North Carolina Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) project uses community gardening to: empower communities to produce food for families, deliver hands-on nutrition education, create opportunities for youth to develop agri-related business skills, build leadership among community members, and provide engaging activities for family members of all ages to work together for a common purpose.

About Us

This North Carolina Children, Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR) project uses community gardens to address the issues of hunger, poor diet, & lack of opportunities for youth by providing families and communities with the resources they need to grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables.
According to the American Community Gardening Association, a community garden is “any piece of land gardened by a group of people. It can be urban, suburban or rural. It can grow flowers, vegetables or community. It can be one community plot or it can be many individual plots. It can be at a school, hospital, or in a neighborhood. It can also be a series of plots dedicated to “urban agriculture” where the produce is grown for a market.”
There are three project sites: Bertie County, Durham County and Scotland County. In each site there is a Community Garden Coordinator that works with community members to establish a garden and provide ongoing support and education. This garden typically has individual plots that are rented to families for a small fee. Any food that a family grows in their plot is theirs to eat, preserve, donate or share. There may also be a communal plot at the garden that the families manage together. 
In addition to a community garden in each project site, the Community Garden Coordinator works with a youth group from the community, teaching them how to grow produce, market it and sell it in the community.   Overall, we expect to reach at least 60 to 70 family groups, plus approximately 30 youth involved with agri-business projects. We encourage family groups to participate weekly during the growing season and over a period of several years. Some participation, though, may be as short as a single garden season.

Community partnerships are important in creating sustainable community gardens. Partnerships that have been developed at the three sites include those with county Cooperative Extension staff and the Master Gardener Volunteers, local university staff and students, elementary and high schools, town governments, local farmers, garden clubs, local retail stores and community resource centers.

Additionally, as part of this CYFAR project, a community garden curriculum is being developed by Cooperative Extension specialists and other N.C. A&T faculty members and includes lessons in: community development, horticulture, diet and nutrition, parenting, and youth agri-entrepreneurship.

This N.C. Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) project is administered by The Cooperative Extension Program at N.C. A&T State University, with funding from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Project Goals
The goals of this project are:

•             To increase the number of families growing food for themselves in gardens
•             To save families money by teaching them to grow some of their own food

•             To increase the quality of meals that families are eating at home so they are fresher, healthier and more diverse
In addition to these goals, we also aim to create community garden projects that will last beyond CYFAR project funding. So, gardeners and community partners are engaged in activities to build leadership and understand the day-to-day operations for the garden to have long-term success.
On a larger scale, our goal is to produce more food locally and to make more local food available to people in those same communities. To do this we encourage and assist with the creation of additional gardens in these county sites at locations such as schools and churches.

Project Sites
We started gardens in communities with high poverty rates in North Carolina. We also wanted gardens in locations where there were committed partners at the local Cooperative Extension offices and within community organizations.
The gardens established and/or supported by this project are:
Site 1)  Durham County
•             Briggs Avenue Community Garden, Durham
•             R.N. Harris Elementary School Garden

Site 2)  Bertie County
•             Piney Woods Chapel Baptist Church Community Garden,  Powellsville

Site 3)  Scotland County
Wagram Community Garden, Wagram

Additional gardens we helped to start and offer educational programs at:
  • Wagram Primary/Elementary School
  • North Laurinburg and Communities in Schools
  • Washington Park Elementary
  • Laurel Hill Elementary
  • Carver Middle School
  • The Garden at Washington Park Community Center
  • Laurinburg Housing AuthorityScotland High School, high tunnel agricultural project Laurinburg

 * See Contact Us page for specific garden location information.