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.

Scotland County Garden Projects

Growing Change 

Voices of the Lumbee documentary. Youth from Growing Change are featured in this video clip and a full documentary film showing their efforts to Flip a Prison site into a agricultural center for youth and veterans will air in Feb 2014 at UNC-Pembroke.  

The N.C. A&T State University CYFAR project in Scotland County, along with other entities and Universities across the state, is proud to partner with Growing Change.

Growing Change is a youth-empowered organization forming to renovate an abandoned adult prison located in the impoverished rural south by converting this 1920’s structure into a youth-run, sustainable farm and educational center. 

History Now and Then:

The Then-The Wagram, N.C. prison site has a rich history including prison baseball leagues and armed jail breaks.  The new campus will preserve this fleeting past in an onsite interactive museum while intentionally using the powerful metaphor of converting a prison to a youth-run farm.

The Now- The old prison in Wagram, N.C., has fallen into disrepair due to vandalism since its doors closed in 2001.  Scotland County is one of the poorest counties in North Carolina, has the highest unemployment rate in the state and some of the worst health outcomes in our nation.  Growing Change began as a pilot program within its parent organization Scots For Youth, a local non-profit founded in 1985 working with disadvantaged youth.  The pilot works with youth, ages 13-16, who have experienced a combination of school failure (out-of-school placement), involvement with the criminal justice system (juvenile services) and challenges at home (often out-of-home placement).  This program has been a success and these youth are now helping to direct our initiatives. 

The Future- We will begin with low cost start ups such as growing niche crops during our day programming and then expand into other initiatives such as college interns living and working on site.    

(information courtesy of Noran Sanford, President, Growing Change,

Wagram Elementary School

The Wagram Elementary School is located just down the street from the Wagram Community Garden. With assistance from the CYFAR Scotland County Community Garden Coordinator, multiple classes have been exposed to gardening and growing food. The kindergarten class works in and really enjoys their new school garden! The Coordinator helps the school teachers to teach students about gardening and eating the vegetables from the garden. The 5th grade class is learning about and practicing vermicomposting. And the 2nd graders assisted with a food distribution program that benefited the Wagram Community Garden project.

Scotland County High School High Tunnel

The CYFAR Community Garden Coordinator, along with additional Cooperative Extension staff have been instrumental in making an exciting new project come to life at Scotland County High School in Laurinburg. An approximately 90x30 foot high tunnel (a structure made of metal U-shaped poles covered in plastic that acts like a greenhouse) has been donated to the school by a local farmer and reconstructed next to the football field. Numerous partners came together to make this project a reality including Farm Bureau and Carolina Farm Credit, the high school’s maintenance staff, and Richmond County Community College who donated over $17,600 towards the reconstruction. 
The goal of this project is to bring agriculture back into the school's curriculum and to help students make the connection between "farm and fork" - in other words, to teach them how to grow food and where their food comes from. With help from the high school’s faculty and Cooperative Extension staff, students will grow food year round in the high tunnel in both in-ground beds and on hydroponic tables where produce is grown in nutrient solutions in water, without using soil.

This semester (Fall 2011) the first group of students began working with the CYFAR Community Garden Coordinator in the high tunnel for their Future Farmers of America (FFA) Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project. They are not only learning how to grow hydroponic lettuce and other greens, but they are also learning valuable business skills associated with marketing and selling the produce. Food from the high tunnel has already made its way onto the menu of the high school's Bagpiper Restaurant, the only known restaurant in the state that houses a culinary program, is open to the public, and is self sustaining.

Additional gardens that we helped to start and provide educational programming to:
  • North Laurinburg and Communities in Schools
  • Washington Park Elementary
  • Laurel Hill Elementary
  • Carver Middle School
  • The Garden at Washington Park Community Center
  • Laurinburg Housing Authority
For more information on these projects please contact Scotland County Cooperative Extension @ 910-277-2422