Since the cold afternoons of early March 2014, our Durham Urban Agriculture Interns have been hard at work in the Langley Community Garden. Located at 1212 Kent Street, the garden is what many consider a “postage stamp” plot. Yet despite its small size the garden has been bursting with color, full of community activity and a site of many afternoon agriculture trainings.
From March 20th, 2014 until this month, four high school urban farmers, Keo Ksor, Serina Aken, Chamiya Edwards, and LaDajia Phillip, have been trained on this site every week. They have each walked away from the experience with confidence in urban gardening and a unique ability to connect with their community through local food. It has been a hard and rewarding year with these four dedicated young women!
History of the Langley Garden Farmers
So who exactly are these awesome urban farmers and where is Langley? Well, back in 2013 the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle was asked to move our original Durham garden (on the corner of Chapel Hill St. and Kent St.) down the road to the current Langley Garden site. At that time, the garden was called the “West End Community Garden” and it hired students from the surrounding West End neighborhood. Now, with the garden further down Kent Street the plot is technically in Lyon Park, an area that is also filled with dedicated neighbors and gardeners. Once the move of the garden was complete we decided to hire from both the West End and Lyon Park neighborhoods and the garden space kept its original name “Langley” after the Langley family that once lived on the garden site. With a grant made possible from the Duke Durham Neighborhood Partnership we began hiring in February 2014. The rest is history!
Partners for Youth Opportunity Partnership
Sitting on the border of these two neighborhoods is the bustling Lyon Park Family Life Center. This community hub is home to the Partners for Youth Opportunity program, offering academic mentoring and job training to high school students in the surrounding area. The PYO program had long been a supporter of Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and volunteered in the original West End garden. They graciously came on this year as an official partner of the IFFS and are now working closely with the Langley Garden Interns. Keo, LaDajia, Serina and Chamiya were all outstanding students in the PYO program and we look forward to hiring more students like them next year! They all expressed interest in urban farming and quickly got to work flipping the Langley Garden plot into the urban food space it is today.
Langley Farmers Graduate Internship
Over the course of the 2014 Internship, these four students learned skills in carpentry, intensive urban gardening, community engagement and organic pest management. These outstanding young women met 2-3 times per week for two hour workdays. Signs were painted, beds were built, a farm stand was constructed and vegetables were constantly being planted, watered, pruned, staked, harvested and distributed. Most of the produce was given to our Interns to gift to family, friends and neighbors. Other produce was distributed on the Langley Farm Stand. Over this fruitful year many neighbors to the garden became involved in every task from composting to weeding to offering up their gutters for rain water catchment.
We would like to congratulate Keo, LaDajia, Serina and Chamiya and wish them each the best in their future endeavors. We will begin hiring again for the Durham Urban Agriculture Internship in February 2015. Applicants must either be in the Partners for Youth Opportunity program or live within the Lyon Park or West End neighborhoods. For an application please email Eliza Bordley, Eliza@FoodShuttle.org.
By Eliza Bordley, IFFS Durham Urban Agriculture Manager. Contact: Eliza@FoodShuttle.org